Scholastic Kids Press Corps
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red cross hurricane sandy recovery state island A Red Cross volunteer delivers Sandy Kits on Staten Island, New York, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross)

The Long Road to Recovery

Red Cross leads groups helping areas hit hard by Sandy

By Andrew Liang | null null , null

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there is a lot to be done.

When the devastating superstorm hit the northeastern United States three weeks ago, it left behind massive and catastrophic damage. New York and New Jersey got the worst of Sandy.  More than 40 people died, millions were without power, thousands of homes were damages or destroyed, and it will cost tens of billions of dollars to rebuild and recover.

Since the storm, many different organizations have stepped in to help in the recovery effort. One of the most visible is the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross opened 20 shelters in the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey. These shelters provide beds, food, and emotional support to nearly 2,700 people affected by the storm, according to Reuben Brown, the Media Relations Specialist at the Metro Atlanta chapter of the American Red Cross.

The organization has also raised more than $140 million for its disaster relief efforts.   

Raising money is important for the Red Cross to do its work. But in order to help out as many people as it can, the Red Cross also relies on volunteers.

"Ninety percent of those Red Cross workers are volunteers," Brown told Scholastic News. "We have more than 5,800 Red Cross workers from all 50 states. "Teachers, nurses, paralegals, accountants, and lawyers are among our ranks. They take time out to help people who've been really impacted by this horrible storm."

With a relief effort as big as this one, the Red Cross can't work alone. They are part of a large group of local and national organizations going into communities to help people devastated by the storm.

One of the other groups helping out is the Southern Baptist Convention. It has prepared thousands of meals that will be distributed by the Red Cross. They will be handed out to residents living in hard-hit areas by Red Cross volunteers in more than 300 emergency response vehicles, or ERVs.

"Think of an ambulance. These are very similar," Brown says. "They're box-type vehicles and can store quite a number of cots, blankets, thermal containers for food and drinks, meals, and beverages. The vehicles are stocked up at the beginning of the day. They go on a certain route on a daily basis, they dispense those materials. Then, they come back, stock up, go out again, and they do that every day for as long as we're needed."

Typically, the Red Cross stays in disaster areas as an emergency response organization for up to four weeks. But this time will probably be different.

"This disaster was so broad in its scope and affected so many people, I daresay the Red Cross will be there for many more weeks if not months ahead, providing assistance to people," Brown said.

The Red Cross relies on donations to help them serve people affected by disasters. You can find out how to donate by visiting the Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. "Whether their donation is large or small, [you] can rest assured that it's going to go to help the people impacted by this unprecedented historic storm," Brown said.

But there are other ways to help the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort, too. Other national organizations, like the United Way, are also accepting donations. If you live in the New York area, you can find ways to help on the New York Cares website. And there are other, locally-based efforts happening all across the country.

If you know of any charities or relief efforts happening in your community, share them with us on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog!

You can find share your Hurricane Sandy experiences and find more coverage of the storm and its aftermath on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog.


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