32 New Jersey Red Crossers are helping with relief efforts

PRINCETON, NJ — The American Red Cross remains on the ground in Louisiana, with volunteers across nearly half of the state helping the thousands of people who have lost everything they own in the devastating flooding there.

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Ana Montero, regional CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. We are there to help families recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask our caring community to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.”

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More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Since the flooding started, the Red Cross and partners have provided the following services:

·                Served more than 405,000 meals and snacks.

·                Distributed more than 151,000 relief items.

·                Provided more than 50,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters.

·                Handled more than 24,000 calls from people seeking information and                      help.

·                Provided more than 10,000 health services and emotional support                            contacts.

·                Mobilized four kitchens in partnership with Southern Baptist Disaster                        Relief.

Here in New Jersey, 32 Red Cross workers have joined the massive disaster response with additional volunteers signing on to help every day. Eighteen trained Red Cross workers from New Jersey have deployed to Louisiana to help on the ground working at shelters, distributing meals and disaster relief supplies, and providing health services and emotional support. Others are serving as virtual volunteers, aiding the disaster relief operation in Louisiana from their homes in New Jersey by handling calls to the disaster hotline and helping with case work for Louisiana families.

Like so many of her fellow volunteers, Jodi Bocco of West Long Branch, New Jersey stepped forward last week to devote two weeks of her time to provide compassionate care to Louisiana families.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference when times are tough for others,” says Bocco. “My goal is to empower children with tools for healing.”

Bocco is volunteering with Disaster Mental Health Services, providing emotional support to adults and children impacted by the disaster in Louisiana.

“New Jersey Red Cross volunteers are no strangers to flooding and the hardships that those affected in Louisiana are facing,” said Montero. “Louisiana Red Cross workers volunteered to help us here in New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy and we are fortunate to return that compassion by helping the people of Louisiana on a path toward recovery.”

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. In some areas, residents are still experiencing flooding, while other neighborhoods are facing the challenge of cleaning up. Where possible, the Red Cross is beginning to distribute food and relief supplies.

HOW TO HELP People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.

BECOME A VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER The Red Cross is looking for virtual disaster case workers to help with the response in Louisiana and future disasters. This role can be fulfilled from the convenience of the volunteer’s home or a Red Cross office in New Jersey. Those interested can go to redcross.org/Volunteer and select DCS Disaster Cycle Services Virtual Case Worker to get started. For more information, please contact: Volunteerservicesnj@redcross.org.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People can download the free Red Cross Emergency App now to be ready in case of a disaster in their community. They can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to connect with their loved ones. The Emergency App can be found in the app store from someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey 
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information please visit redcross.org/NJ and visit us on Twitter @NJRedCross.