Friday, July 10, 2015

"Gimmie Shelter"? Our volunteers can do that!

"Oh, a storm is threatnin'
Photo courtesy
My very life today.
If I don't get some shelter
Oh, I'm gonna fade away."
-The Rolling Stones

The Ralph will be rocking Saturday, and from the sound of things, it seems like all of Western and Central New York will be at the Stadium to see "the worlds greatest rock and roll band" live. In one of The Rolling Stones best-known songs, Mick Jagger pleads with listeners to "Gimmie Shelter". Well, Mick, that's something our volunteers do for their neighbors in need each and every day.

Just last week, when flash floods washed through parts of Syracuse, our volunteers set up a shelter at the Westcott Community Center in the early morning hours, before later moving to St. Lucy's Church, ensuring evacuated residents had a safe, warm place to stay. In November, when the area around Ralph Wilson Stadium was covered in as much as eight feet of snow, Red Cross volunteers operated or supported 19 different shelters, providing over 600 overnight stays for travelers stranded by Thruway and other road closures.

This is probably not what Mick Jagger had in mind, but
our volunteers operated or supported 19 shelters during
"Snowvember 2014"
It's not always a storm that forces someone to need shelter. An average of three times a day across the Western and Central New York Region, a family is forced from their home after a fire. Our volunteers are there then too, offering a place to stay, food, clothing and support, as they did for eight people who lost everything after an Elmira fire Thursday.

So whether it's because "a storm was threatnin'" or "a fire was sweepin'", the Red Cross volunteers are always ready to "Gimmie Shelter", even while thousands of us will be listening to the Stones sing one of my all-time favorite songs live.

Do you want to help answer Mick's call? Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer on our website.