Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Red Cross to Distribute Clean-Up Kits in Storm Affected Areas

The American Red Cross will be distributing free clean-up kits and other materials to help residents as they begin to recover from last week’s devastating lake effect snowstorm. Clean-up kits-including brooms, buckets, work and rubber gloves, bleach, tarps, shovels and more- will be available while supplies last, along with information on what to do after a flood and specially-trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers to help area residents deal with the emotional impact of this storm.

WHAT:          Red Cross clean-up materials distribution

WHEN:         Wednesday, November 26, 2pm-5pm
                        Friday, November 28, 11am-2pm

WHERE:      Iroquois Middle School, 2111 Girdle Road, Elma
                        St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran, 3512 Clinton Street, West Seneca                   

The Salvation Army will be providing hot meals at both locations on both Wednesday and Friday as they continue to support the relief efforts. The Salvation Army has provided over 2,000 meals since the relief efforts began last week. Volunteers from the Southern Baptists will also be supporting the distribution, joining some of the 114 Red Cross staff and volunteers currently working on the relief efforts.

The Red Cross continues to operate a shelter at Iroquois Middle School, where six people spent Monday night. Four Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) have been bringing food, water and additional support directly into the hardest hit areas, and Disaster Assessment teams have been assessing the damage and helping guide the response efforts.

The Red Cross continues to work with emergency officials at the state, county and local level to monitor developments and ensure that community needs are being met as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Digging out, then helping out

"I'm sore!" That's what Red Cross volunteer Mike Koscielny told me when I asked him how he was doing today. Why, you ask?

Mike joined the lake effect snow relief operation on Saturday after digging himself out of his Lancaster home.

"We had almost five feet," Mike said. "Shoveled for seven hours on Tuesday, then just tried to stay on top of it."

The backyard at Mike Koscielny's Lancaster home
Mike also helped neighbors shovel and fix their snow blowers as they broke down trying to move this unprecedented snowfall. ("Mine is being held together with tape and glue."). Furnaces were also an issue, icing up because of the amount of snow.

"Even walking was ridiculous," he says. "You were sinking down to your waist, like a quicksand of snow."

Despite it all, Mike said his neighbors have kept an optimistic attitude. For the most part.

"A couple said, 'that's it. I'm moving!' But your house will still be there when the snow melts. After a hurricane, it might not be."

After putting in all this effort to dig himself and his neighbors, you might think Mike would want to take a rest. But after his street was just plowed yesterday, Mike was here at our Clement Mansion headquarters first thing this morning, on the job working Disaster Services Technology and Staffing.

"Have to help everybody else," he says. "I'm done helping family and friends, everyone is safe. Now it's time to move on to helping other people."