Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

The American Red Cross has released a one-year Superstorm Sandy report detailing its response and recovery work to help residents affected by this historic storm, which made landfall on October 29, 2012.

“Donations to the Red Cross have helped countless families start over in a new place to live, clean out the mold from their water-logged homes, or get much-needed financial and emotional support to rebuild their homes and lives,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “The needs are still great, and there is more work to do. We are committed to continue working with the communities that were impacted by this devastating storm to provide services and support.”

INSIDE THE REPORT The One-Year Superstorm Sandy Report details the extraordinary measures taken by the Red Cross to respond to Sandy, from volunteer deployment and relief efforts to temporary and permanent housing assistance to key partnerships with government and non-government entities, as well as the strong outpouring of support from donors..

The Red Cross met Sandy’s significant damage with its largest U.S. response in five years. More than 17,000 trained workers from all over the country – 90 percent of them volunteers, powered the massive emergency relief effort. This response included:

  • Serving more than 17.5 million meals and snacks in a huge feeding operation.
  • Handing out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and clean-up supplies.
  • Providing nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
  • Providing 74,000 overall shelter stays for Sandy.

RECOVERY EFFORTS ONGOING Even as its emergency relief work was occurring, the Red Cross began to help people in the long recovery process that continues today. Trained Red Cross workers are meeting with those in need, providing case management and financial assistance to help with security and utility deposits, home repairs and rent as well as linking them to available social service programs.

The response and recovery from a storm of this size takes time and help from many organizations. Over the past year, the Red Cross has worked together with government and community partners at every step to provide assistance to those that need it most. In addition, the Red Cross has given $60 million in grants to a number of nonprofits working in New Jersey and New York to help people with home repairs, mold remediation, food, financial assistance and financial counseling, and to support the work of community roundtables to help address unmet needs.

THANK YOU The work of the Red Cross is possible because of the compassion and generosity of the American public, and the Red Cross already has spent or made commitments to spend $280 million, more than 90 percent of the $308 million donated for Sandy. The Red Cross expects to use the biggest share of the remaining money to help people with a range of housing-related expenses, support community resiliency programs and give more grants to community non-profit partners to help Sandy survivors.

“We are grateful for the generosity of donors across the nation who continually make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to once-in-a-generation disasters like Sandy, as well as the 70,000 disasters we confront each year,” McGovern said.

The report and other information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.

Neenah Volunteer Answers the Call for the Second Time for “Sandy”

Harvey Lorenz and Nick Cluppert 2

Harvey Lorenz, Disaster Volunteer, from Neenah,  is leaving on Thursday for New Jersey to assist on his second National Deployment for Hurricane Sandy.

Harvey deployed to New York back in November. He will be assisting as a supervisor in the area of Financial & Statistical Information. When asked  what motivates him to go out on deployments:

 “It is just a calling I feel comfortable answering.  I know there are people that have it a lot worse than I do.  I’m just happy I have the time to devote to this.”

(L-R) Harvey Lorenz completing his paper work with Nick Cluppert, Disaster Services, Regional Manager, Training & Development

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.

How the Red Cross Is Using Donations to Help Sandy Victims

Author: Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross published in The Daily Beast

The American Red Cross has received widespread support after Superstorm Sandy, and along with those contributions have come questions—including in stories that have run on The Daily Beast—about how those donations are being put to use, and what we’re going to do with the remaining funds. These are legitimate questions, and the Red Cross is committed to transparency and welcomes this opportunity to answer them.

RED CROSS

People receive free food from the American Red Cross in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

In my more than four-and-a-half years at the Red Cross, I’ve been no stranger to disasters, whether tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. But what struck me was the massiveness of Sandy’s fury, the miles and miles of devastation that just seemed endless.

The destruction wrought by Sandy also had a personal element for me: I grew up and spent most of my life in the New York/New Jersey area, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the storm. While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything. At the same time, I am also struck by the determination of these individuals to start over, rebuild, and power through their loss.

 

So how exactly are we helping them? While the American Red Cross is a grassroots network of local chapters and volunteers, the sheer size of Sandy required us to bring people and resources from all over the country to help our chapters in New York and New Jersey. Over the past seven weeks, we have mobilized more than 15,800 trained workers, 90 percent of whom are volunteers. We have also worked closely with other nonprofit and government partners, because a disaster this size is too big for any one organization to handle.

This is the biggest U.S. response we have mounted in over five years. Even before Sandy hit, we opened shelters across multiple states, and we have been providing help every day since. So far, we have:

• Served more than 8.9 million meals and snacks.

• Handed out more than 6.7 million relief items such as cold-weather items and clean-up supplies.

• Provided more than 103,000 health services and emotional-support contacts for people living in very tough conditions.

• Supplied more than 81,000 shelter stays, more than half of the total number of Sandy shelter stays (158,000) provided by a range of groups.

And we still have much more work to do.

Of the $202 million in donations and pledges we have received to date, we believe that approximately $110 million of that will be spent on our emergency-relief operations by the end of December. Remaining Sandy-related donations will be used by the Red Cross to meet longer-term needs—what we call “recovery”—of people affected by this disaster.

Our initial recovery efforts are expected to cost at least $60 million; any remaining funds will be allocated to additional long-term efforts. We have developed a recovery plan by working closely with other nonprofits and government agencies—including FEMA—to coordinate efforts and identify unmet needs.

While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything.

Our federal government partners have requested that we focus our assistance first on three groups of people who have already been identified as needing aid:

• People in New York and New Jersey whose homes were destroyed and are in need of either repair assistance or longer-term rental housing;

• People whose homes were destroyed in states which did not receive federal disaster money;

• People with demonstrated needs that exceed what can be met by insurance, FEMA, and state resources.

This means that part of our efforts over the next several months will involve one-on-one work helping those who have trouble finding assistance on their own. These are the types of activities a survivor doesn’t want to go through alone, and we can provide the expertise, as well as a shoulder to lean on during the process. That includes helping people fill out insurance paperwork, identify child-care resources, find new housing, and connect with social services in their communities.

In addition, we also will be supporting projects and programs of other nonprofit groups in the New York and New Jersey area, such as working with several local food banks to help Sandy survivors have access to food during the new year.

It is the generous support of so many people and businesses across the country have enabled us to bring help and hope to tens of thousands of people impacted by Sandy. We are committed to being good stewards of these contributions entrusted to us—and we will be there for the survivors of this devastating storm as they fight for their future

American Wants to Give Meaningful Gifts….

To all who gave, from all who received. Thank you.

Sara Bruesewitz, A Lifetime of Red Cross Service

So proud of our Sara for sharing her story and we are lucky to have her on our Red Cross Team!!!

President/CEO, Gail McGovern came to visit the headquarters in Northern New Jersey where Sara was deployed to.

Volunteers constitute about 95 percent of the American Red Cross workforce and are an essential part of our humanitarian aid and services. Many choose to volunteer with the Red Cross, but we believe that there are a few individuals who were born with the Red Cross in their blood.This proves to be true with our very own Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator with the Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Sara’s history with the Red Cross doesn’t begin with her, it actually started over 20 years ago with her mother, Barbara Bruesewitz. Barbara worked in Community Preparedness & Resilience Services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chapter, the same chapter that Sara would call home decades later.  Barbara left the Red Cross several years later in order to take care of her two children, Sara, and her older brother Bryan.

Growing up Sara had her first experience with the Red Cross at four years old, when her parents enrolled her in preschool aquatics and learn-to-swim programs at the Greenfield High School swimming pool.  Aquatics programs that were provided by Red Cross certified instructors and lifeguards.

As a young teen, Sara took a Babysitter’s Training course from her local Chapter, a program that helps prepare youth to make good decisions under pressure, respond to cardiac and choking emergencies, and manage children. In no time at all Sara was known in her neighborhood as the best babysitter on the block.

Problems arose for Sara at 13 years old, when she began to experience severe and chronic back pains, and after several doctor visits and physical therapy, the diagnosis was spondylolthesis, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the development of vertebrae in the spine.

Fortunately, Sara was able to undergo a spinal fusion operation to correct the issue, however during surgery Sara lost more blood than expected and was in need of several blood transfusions. The blood that Sara received was none other than blood collected by the American Red Cross, which collects approximately 40% of the Nation’s blood supply. After a grueling three-month recovery, and countless physical therapy sessions, Sara made a full recovery.

After graduating high school, Sara attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where she continued to show her support and joined the Red Cross club on campus where she was active in holding community awareness events and blood drives. In her senior year she was offered an internship at the Lakeland Chapter in Green Bay, assisting in development, special events, and communication. Upon completion of her degree in May 2012, Sara was offered a full-time position within the Southeastern Wisconsin Region.

When Superstorm Sandy affected the east coast in late October, Sara embarked on her first national deployment and is currently dedicating her time as a public affairs service associate at the New Jersey Disaster Relief Operations Headquarters in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Sara’s ties to the Red Cross began long before she was even born, and her compassion and dedication literally runs through her. She is as much a part of the Red Cross as the organization is a part of hers. On behalf of the American Red Cross, we owe a lifetime of gratitude to Sara Bruesewitz.