Superstorm Sandy Response 11-16-2012

We Live In a Community of Much Generosity

Out of tragedy and disaster comes the stories of courage, strength and acts of kindness. Kate Burgess, CEO, FulfillNet and her team, demonstrate firsthand how a small act of kindness can make a big impact.

In honor of the companies they serve, many on the East Coast, they have chosen to forego a traditional holiday gift and instead give a significant donation to offer assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Thank you to Kate and your team for your $3,000 gift to the American Red Cross!  Your gift will go far in providing hope and help to those in need.

Thank you for being a friend of the American Red Cross and for all you do in our community!

(Below is Kate’s letter sent to their customers.) 

THANK YOU

Door County men help those hardest hit by hurricane

Written by Samantha Hernandez Door County Advocate

Volunteer Ron Maloney of Sturgeon Bay is currently stationed on Long Island at an American Red Cross distribution center. / Submitted

Two American Red Cross volunteers from Sturgeon Bay have answered the call of duty and are now on the East Coast helping those hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.

What some have dubbed a “superstorm” decimated several eastern states after it touched down last week, leaving people homeless or displaced and without power, food and water. The category 1 storm caused schools, businesses and mass transit to shut down.

Red Cross volunteers Rudy Senarighi and Ron Maloney were deployed to New Jersey and Long Island respectively.

Senarighi, who spent more than 25 years as a guidance counselor with the Green Bay School District and later the Sturgeon Bay School District, is working as a mental health supervisor. He arrived on Oct. 31 in Philadelphia and drove to Somerset, N.J. From there he was sent to Tinton Falls, N.J.

He is with a team of five other mental health workers and nurses. Since reaching New Jersey his team and others have made 17,000 support contacts. Part of Senarighi‘s job is to make contact with those who might need mental health services and put them in touch with agencies that will be able to assist them in the coming weeks.

The nurses and counselors offer “health services and emotional support contact,” Senarighi said.

He said the volunteers are really only able to give “Band-Aid” care.

“The hardest part is leaving and not seeing what happens to them,” Senarighi said. “Because you really want them to make it.”

There are 5,300 people from all over the country volunteering in the hardest-hit areas, he said.

Right now people are most concerned with an impending storm that was due to hit today.

“The big issue right now there is a nor’easter predicted for Wednesday, and it’s supposed to be a big one,” Senarighi said.

The last thing people need is to deal with is cold and rainy conditions on top of everything else, he said.

As his team travels from shelter to shelter, they’ve seen the destruction left by the storm.

“You know the beaches are wiped clean, the downtown areas are deserted, the sand from the beaches is piled thick and high,” he said.

Power companies with crews from all over the country and road crews are working around the clock to get people back on track.

“Boy, it’s a mess,” he said. “Lots and lots of water damage, as you’d imagine,” he said. People have had to throw out furniture and mattresses that were ruined by the flooding.

While schools have been closed in New Jersey, Senarighi has seen many of the local high school students volunteering at the Red Cross center, manning the phones and helping with other tasks. Schools are slated to open today or Monday.

Senarighi is slated to return home Nov. 16.

For Maloney, who left Sturgeon Bay on Saturday for the East Coast, his pitching in and helping has gone a little slower, since the city of New York is still turning its city-run shelters over to the Red Cross. With all the volunteers coming in, people are still being given their assignments.

Maloney is currently stationed, for a minimum of three weeks, at a Red Cross bulk distribution center on Long Island. He and other volunteers are staying in a Marine barracks. His job is to help get trucks loaded and drive the supplies to the designated shelters.

Monday was Maloney’s first full day on the job. He distributed supplies to a shelter being run out of a Church of the Nazarene. The shelter is not affiliated with the Red Cross, but the volunteer organization does supply to shelters in need of supplies.

He said going from shelter to shelter can take anywhere from a half-hour to two hours.

Maloney and Senarighi were astounded at how long the lines are for gas stations.

A few miles west of the coast, there are still lots of power outages, meaning traffic lights were not working. Also, many gas stations had either run out of gasoline or didn’t have the power to pump the gas, Maloney said.

Senarighi saw gas lines that went on for seven miles.

Both men are touched by the strength of the human spirit that they see around them.

“You know its amazing how upbeat everybody is,” Maloney said. “In the shelter everybody is really willing to help each other … you don’t see a lot of people who are really down.”

“It still amazes me, this is like my ninth deployment for a national disaster, and I continue to see people helping people,” Senarighi said.

Red Cross Workers Provide Comfort Amid Devastation

Some of the most visible activities of the Red Cross during a disaster involve giving people food, water and shelter. These are critically important, but they’re not the entire story.

After going through a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy—the likes of which most people had not seen before—survivors often need someone to listen to their story and provide a comforting word and presence.

The Red Cross has more than 5,000 disaster workers helping those affected by Sandy, some of whom are mental health volunteers. In the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey, these volunteers go from neighborhood to neighborhood to talk to people and help them cope.

Mental health volunteers are also able to refer people to Red Cross health services workers, who do wellness checks and make sure elderly residents are ok. These volunteers also make sure residents have access to any needed medications or equipment.

Even for those Red Cross workers whose official roles lie elsewhere—for example, in driving an emergency response vehicle and handing out hot meals—they too are always ready to provide personal encouragement and support.

Dick McGee, a retired clinical psychologist and Red Cross volunteer, was in Long Beach on Long Island, N.Y., to deliver meals. One of the people he met happened to be Jackie Blessinger, a student studying to be a clinical psychologist. She had put her studies on hold to help her father clean up after the storm.

Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge deposited five feet of ocean water in the living area of Phil Blessinger’s home. “Hurricane Irene last year was annoying,” he said, ”but nothing like this devastation.”

For Jackie Blessinger, McGee’s presence gave her a chance to vent about being away from her studies and talk about her future plans with someone who had decades of experience in her chosen field.

Before returning to the job at hand, Jackie insisted a friend take a picture of her and her dad with their new Red Cross friend. Jackie’s animated enthusiasm also brought a smile back to her father’s face as they resumed the task of cleaning out the house.

Just a brief encounter with a caring Red Cross volunteer helped them take a brief break from their labors and give them renewed confidence that a better day was, in fact, going to come.

How You Can Help

The response to Sandy is likely to be the largest Red Cross response in the U.S. in the past five years. To donate, visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Red Cross Responding as Thousands Seek Help

Financial and blood donations needed in the wake of superstorm

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, October 31, 2012 — In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of people from more than a dozen states have turned to the American Red Cross for help and trained disaster workers are responding with food, shelter and comfort.

“We’re caring for thousands of people across the affected region and more help is on the way,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “We’re mobilizing more disaster workers, response vehicles and relief supplies now. The Red Cross response is already very large and could be our biggest U.S. disaster response in the past five years. It will be very costly and we need the public’s help.”

THE RED CROSS RESPONSE With communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffering from widespread power outages, wind damage and significant flooding from Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross has provided more than 23,000 overnight shelter stays since Saturday. Tuesday night, more than 9,000 people stayed in 171 Red Cross shelters across 13 states.

On the ground, the Red Cross has more than 2,300 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country who have served more than 100,800 meals and snacks. The Red Cross has activated nearly 200 emergency response vehicles that are beginning to circulate through some communities distributing meals, water and snacks.

While access into many areas is still difficult, the Red Cross is working hard to get help to where it is needed. As roads and airports re-open and people are able to travel again, more Red Cross disaster workers, vehicles and relief supplies will be arriving.

HOW TO HELP THOSE AFFECTED  “The Red Cross needs both blood and financial donations as this large response effort will continue over the next several weeks,” Shimanski said.

Approximately 300 Red Cross blood drives have already been cancelled due to the storm, and more are expected. This represents a loss of as many as 10,500 blood and platelet products. The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas where it is safe to do so. To schedule an appointment, please go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Financial donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy, as well as countless crises at home and around the world. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013.

COPING IN THE AFTERMATH  While residents will be anxious to return home, families and individuals should go back to their neighborhoods only when officials have declared the area safe. Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay out of any building that has water around it.

Before reentering homes, residents should look for loose power lines, damaged gas lines or other hazards that pose dangers. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around the home. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated and check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.

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 www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Local Resident Helps Out in Aftermath of Sandy

October 31, 2012 By Carol Thompson Peninsula Pulse 

Rudy Senarighi and his wife Shirley volunteer for the Red Cross during national disasters. Rudy is helping the Red Cross’s mental health team with Hurricane Sandy disaster relief.

At some point in your life, you decide if you’re going to just take up space or do something good for the world. Rudy Senarighi chose to do something good. On the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 31, he hopped on a plane to New Jersey to volunteer with the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts.Senarighi, of Sturgeon Bay, helps with the Red Cross’s mental health team.

He’s a retired guidance counselor who worked at Walker Middle School for 25 years, and when the Red Cross sent out a call for volunteers in the mental health field, he signed up. “I’m retired now, and I have the time,” said Senarighi. “I want to give back.

Senarighi’s volunteered at nine natural disasters, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the tornados in Joplin, Missouri. He’s also helped out with local disasters like fires.

He’s not sure what he’ll be assigned to do in New Jersey – it depends on what needs to be done. In the past he’s helped support victims and other volunteers, and helped connect people in need with available resources.

For the next three weeks, Senarighi will be helping to bring normalcy back to a disaster zone. He does it because he knows he can help, and he wants to give his time and energy to people that could really use it.

“We know they’re going to be there for us when we need them, so we’re going to be there for them,” Senarighi said.