Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Disaster doesn't take a holiday

Many of us spent much of the last couple of weeks celebrating with friends and family. Between Christmas, New Year's and all the other holidays, the end of December and beginning of January should be busy but happy times.

Unfortunately, disaster doesn't take the holidays off.  Since December 23rd, we've responded to 11 separate fires and other related incidents in Erie County, providing for the immediate emergency needs of 55 people.

Photo courtesy
 Among the recent cases, our Disaster Action Team provided assistance to eight people, including young children, following a late Christmas Eve fire on Broadway in Depew. On Christmas Day, our volunteers responded to three separate incidents, assisting eight people in the City of Buffalo. Food, clothing and shelter were provided to two individuals following a fatal fire on Main Street in Clarence on December 29th, and mental health services were offered to all involved in this tragedy. On New Year’s Eve, the Red Cross provided assistance to 18 people following a rooming house fire on Ashley Street in Buffalo.

We could not provide this vital emergency service to the community without volunteers such as Betsy Crocker of Amherst, Melissa Morris of Buffalo, Fred Pask of Akron, Sandra Rhoat of Cheektowaga, Diane Sargent of Lockport and Pete Swales from Springville, who along with staff members Amanda Campbell and Christine Kukelka sacrificed some of their family time this holiday to respond to these incidents and help our neighbors in need. We say this all the time, yet it's never enough--THANK YOU for everything that you do!

If you'd like to Join Us as a Disaster Action Team member, please contact volunteer coordinator Christine Kukelka at or visit