PRINCETON, NJ — When fire ravaged several residences in Ocean Grove last month, volunteers from the American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter responded to the call by providing comfort and emergency assistance to displaced families.

It is an example of the Red Cross' commitment to those impacted by disaster and is exemplified every year through today's Giving Day. During this one-day fundraising event, individuals are asked to #help1family affected by emergencies. Donations can provide hope and urgent relief such as food, blankets and other essentials to people who need it most

“Nearly every eight minutes, there is a family that has lost everything to a home fire or other disaster. This one-day nationwide event will raise funds to ensure the Red Cross is able to meet the critical mission of helping those families who have been affected by emergencies,” said Ana Montero, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region.

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In Ocean Grove on March 3, residents whose Seaview Avenue homes were destroyed in the blaze found safety at nearby St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. The parish opened its doors and welcomed the Red Cross to use its facilities as a reception center for the displaced families, and those evacuated from nearby homes as a precaution.

Throughout the day, Red Cross volunteers met with families to provide comfort and emergency assistance, as well as health, mental health and spiritual care services. As they awaited updates about the fire, meals were generously donated by St. Paul's, Ocean Grove Fire Department and The Tides restaurant.

The church parish-turned reception center became the place where friends and family of those displaced came to connect with their loved ones and bring them to stay at their homes.  At day's end, these Red Cross volunteers provided emergency assistance for food, clothing and other immediate needs to 32 people in 20 families. 

In New Jersey, the Red Cross last year responded to more than 760 local disasters in the state, mostly home fires, to provide compassionate care and emergency assistance to more than 1,800 New Jersey families.

To help protect New Jersey families from home fires, the Red Cross and its community partners have installed more than 17,000 free smoke alarms across the state and helped nearly 7,300 families create a fire escape plan through the Home Fire Campaign. To date, the campaign has saved 18 lives in New Jersey. 

The American public’s support of Giving Day is a promise of better days ahead for those in our community who have lost everything. Donations to the Red Cross can be made at redcross.org/givingday/NewJersey.

In Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore Chapter, headquartered in Ocean Township, can be reached at 732-493-9100.