Door County Community Shares their Time & Talents to Raise Funds for Sandy Relief

On Friday evening January 18 the Third Avenue Playhouse in downtown Sturgeon Bay hosted a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief. This concert was put together by musician Jeanne Kuhn’s and friends.

In-between acts Red Cross volunteers from Door County and had been deployed to New York and New Jersey shared their experiences with the audience. Everyone that performed, ran the lights and sound system donated their time for this fund raiser. $1,000 was raised for Sandy disaster relief efforts.

Door County Photos: Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert by Len Villano &emdash; 20130118_Sandy Benefit_0006
Rudy Senarighi a American Red Cross voleenteer who traveled to the east coast to help the storm victims. Rudy talked about finding candy bars at a gas station and buying them for the kids left homeless by the storm. Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit Concert at the Third Avenue Playhouse, Friday, January 18, 2013 in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, WI. Photo by Len Villano. Small Forest ( Jeanne Kuhns, Patrick Palmer, Marybeth Mattson), Seth and Mark Raddatz, Lynn Gudmundsen, David Hatch, Nick Hoover , Jess Holland, Jay Whitney, and James Valq

To view additional photos from the concert click HERE.

Door County Students Give Gift that Warms Hearts and those Served by American Red Cross

Nikki Pease's fifth-grade class present Diane Knutson, far left, a disaster volunteer for the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross, with blankets that they made as part of Sunrise Serves the Community service project.

 Sturgeon Bay: Students have warm gift for homeless children

Written by Samantha Hernandez, Door County Advocate

The student service learning group at Sunrise Elementary School ended the academic year on a warm and fuzzy note with the donation of 27 fleece blankets and 15 fleece pillows to HELP of Door County and the local Red Cross.

The Sunrise Serves the Community student group works with guidance counselor Belinda Richard during the school year learning about leadership and working on service projects that benefit the community.

The student consensus early on was that they wanted to learn about homelessness, Richard said. The group contacted local organizations to learn all they could about subject.

Christine Salmon, then from the United Way of Door County; Joanne Ator, the county’s Economic Support supervisor; Judy Gregory from the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross; and HELP of Door County youth advocate Jessica Holland all came to talk with the students.

From there, students brainstormed about how they could use what they learned to help others and what they would miss most if they lost their homes, Richard said.

The students decided that kids their age would want something to snuggle or something comfy.

“We decided we should make blankets for homeless children in our area,” student Allison Bridenhagen said. Allison was a fifth-grader at the time.

To raise money for the material, Sunrise Serves the Community hosted an after-school fun event to raise money for the fleece and the school’s Destination ImagiNation team, Richard said.

Walmart donated $50, several staff members donated fabric and Elementary Principal Ann Smejkal also chipped in more than $25 for the project.

The service group also created a short DVD presentation of what they learned from their research and what they would like each third-, fourth- and fifth-grade class in the school to do to help them meet their goal of 12 blankets.

Each class was asked to make one blanket. The group’s goal was exceeded when one class made an additional 10 blankets that they requested be sent to the tornado ravaged Joplin, Mo.

Seeing the entire school get involved with the project “was amazing,” Allison said.

The students also held a bake sale for Japan earthquake relief and raised about $300 that they donated to the Red Cross.

To see the digital story that Sunrise Serves the Community created as part of its service learning project check out the digital story at

Red Cross Volunteer Gets Ready for Her Seventh National Disaster Assignment

(L-R) Jan Traversa and Diane Knutson, at the 2009 Red River Valley Floods in Fargo, ND

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter has dispatched disaster volunteer, Diane Knutson, of Sturgeon Bay, to Little Rock, Arkansas to assist with the April tornadoes that devastated so much of the south almost one week ago.

This will be Knutson’s seventh national disaster deployment. She has assisted for Hurricane Wilma, Wildfires in California, Tornadoes in Arkansas and Lakewood, WI, in 2008 helped with the floods in East Central and Southern WI and in 2009 assisted with the Red River Valley Floods.

For this assignment she will be deployed as a supervisor for damage assessment.

Across the Country

Tornadoes, floods and severe weather have uprooted lives across the country. The April 27 storm system tore across the south, causing widespread destruction in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas andVirginia. In Alabama alone, early estimates indicate that 7,000 to 10,000 homes may have been damaged or destroyed. The Red Cross is operating 16 shelters within that state.

Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern visited tornado ravaged Alabama and Mississippi over the weekend and pledged that the Red Cross will do whatever is possible to ease the suffering of those affected.

Red Cross volunteer Corliss Booker, age 16, hands out food to Yayla Sanders, age 11.

Since March 31, more than 3,700 Red Cross workers have assisted with relief and recovery efforts in 16 states. The Red Cross has served more than 513,000 meals and snacks, and opened more than 120 shelters providing more than 8,300 overnight stays.

“This is my first hot meal thanks to the Red Cross, they’ve really been a big help,” said Jason Price, who was  affected by the tornado in Tuscaloosa, Ala. “You all don’t know how much we appreciate a hot meal.”

 The Red Cross will remain in these affected communities, partnering with other agencies and community resources to ensure residents have the help they need to get their lives back on track. The Red Cross will also continue providing health services and emotional support for those who face the daunting task of rebuilding. Since March 31, the Red Cross has provided more than 6,200 health and mental health contacts.

“I give to the American Red Cross every year and it has come full circle,” said Sue Allen as she stood in front of her damaged home inAlabama.

The severe spring weather is not over yet and heavy thunderstorms are expected throughout the MississippiandOhioRiver basins, bringing the potential for flooding to the region.

How to Help: The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, and people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at