Press Release: Ocean & Monmouth County Groups Receive Nearly $3 Million in Grants for Sandy Recovery

October 11, 2013

Tinton Falls, NJ, October 9, 2013 –The American Red Cross today awarded two grants totaling $2.95 million to the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group and the Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group to support unmet needs roundtables formed to help disaster-affected Monmouth and Ocean County households.

The Red Cross grants will be used to repair and rebuild approximately 370 disaster affected homes to safe, secure and sanitary conditions and provide disaster case management services to help residents achieve long-term, sustainable recovery goals.

“Towns in Ocean and Monmouth County were among the hardest hit by Sandy, and the Red Cross is committed to helping these impacted communities come back stronger and more resilient against future storms,” said Nancy Orlando, regional CEO, American Red Cross South Jersey Region. “By partnering with the Long Term Recovery Groups here, we will continue to support Sandy survivors until all affected residents recover.”

The Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group will use its $1.85 million Red Cross grant to assist approximately 350 individuals and families whose primary household was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, prioritizing those residents most in need of service or funding. This assistance includes construction materials and rebuilding services, development and coordination of individualized long-term disaster recovery plans and volunteer labor.

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Story: Red Cross Helps Staten Island Nurse Return Home

July 26, 2013

As a registered nurse, Rosemarie Hall is used to taking care of others; but after Superstorm Sandy, she credits the American Red Cross with helping take care of her.

“I’m so grateful for the Red Cross because I was really in a bad situation,” Hall said. “They showed me hope.”

Hall has lived in her refurbished, 1930s three-bedroom Staten Island bungalow for seven years.

Like many New Yorkers in 2011, her home didn’t sustain much damage from Hurricane Irene, so she decided she would not evacuate for Sandy.

Hall was home the night Sandy blew into her southeast Staten Island neighborhood located just blocks from the water and Midland Beach.

“I was looking out the window, and I watched the flood come through,” she said. “The water in the street was three feet high.”

Hall’s heating unit and water heater are located in a room built onto the side of the home. When Sandy made landfall, water began to pour into the utility room.

“I watched my deck fill up, I watched my heating system fill up,” she said. “It all got destroyed.”

The water also crept into the living area of her home through the crawlspace. In the end, her heating system, water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, couch, and many of her belongings were damaged.

She spent six weeks in evacuation centers and a shelter, then five months in a hotel.

Hall would return to her home to clean what she could and recover from the storm.

“The Red Cross gave me a disaster package, a mold kit, and I came here. I scrubbed the floors and it helped it from growing up in here,” Hall said.

Red Cross Case Manager Kevin Rivero was assigned to Hall’s case and determined she would be a good candidate for the Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program.

The program works with families displaced by Sandy to move them back into sustainable housing. Eligible, Sandy-affected residents may receive up to $10,000 for expenses, including home repairs, rent, security deposit, moving costs, brokerage fees, temporary housing/or furniture and appliances and more.

The generosity of donors allowed the Red Cross to be able to provide Hall with funds for a new heating system, water heater, new refrigerator, dishwasher and new couch.

“Thank you to the Red Cross and to all who donated to the Red Cross,” she said. “Because of you, I’m back in my home.”

Press Release: American Red Cross Awards $1.5 Million to the Greater New Jersey United Methodist Church to Help With Sandy Recovery

July 11, 2013

Tinton Falls, NJ, June 28, 2013 – The American Red Cross today awarded a $1,500,000 grant to the Greater New Jersey United Methodist Church for Superstorm Sandy recovery work with the elderly, disabled and low-income families.

“We are so pleased to partner with the Red Cross to help the most vulnerable populations within New Jersey who were affected by Sandy,” said Bobbie Ridgely, director of A Future with Hope, Inc. and the Sandy recovery efforts of GNJUMC. “Thanks to this generous funding, we will be able to identify and work with Sandy survivors who require special care, and help them build a new future over the next 18 months.”

The Greater New Jersey United Methodist Church has close to 600 congregations in the New Jersey area. It established an independent non-profit organization, A Future with Hope, Inc., to focus on relief and recovery, most notably in construction/repair and disaster case management. This grant will help an estimated 190 New Jersey families and repair 75 homes, as well as assist the organization train and deploy up to 1,000 volunteers in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

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VIDEO: Guardian Life Insurance Volunteer Day with the Red Cross

June 4, 2013

On Friday, May 31, 2013, forty employees from Guardian Life Insurance volunteered with the American Red Cross in partnership with New York Cares to “muck out” a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross continues to help with recovery every day through volunteer events like this and by working with families to provide financial assistance.

Disaster Update: Red Cross Awards $1.25M Grant to Brooklyn Community Foundation

May 30, 2013

VIDEO: Sandy Survivors Find Hope Through Red Cross

April 24, 2013

STORY: Strength in Tragedy

March 8, 2013

By Ashley Chapman

Strength in TragedyMaria Castro likes to talk about how her 17-year old son, Jorge Rosario—or Jay Jay, as she calls him—spontaneously dove into the freezing ocean on a cold day last November after a construction job for post-Sandy clean up in the Rockaways.

Not long after that, Jorge was fatally shot in the head at a party in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

For Maria and her remaining three children: Diamond, 12; Reyshawn, 6; and Crystal, 1; the months since then have become increasingly difficult. Three months after the Castro family lost Jorge, they lost their home.

On February 17, a fire started in the apartment next door to the Castro’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Maria was across the street while Diamond was home with the baby, Crystal. Maria saw smoke coming out of the building and started running towards it just as Diamond emerged, carrying Crystal in her arms.

“The first thing I thought was ‘Thank God, my kids are okay,’” said Maria. “But then I began to think, ‘What else will God put in front of me’? I don’t bother nobody, I don’t hurt nobody.”

The fire destroyed the Castro’s apartment on a bitter cold morning when New Yorkers were stocking up on winter supplies, preparing for the snowstorm that was expected to hit the next day. But unlike most people, the Castros had not only lost their basic supplies—necessities like baby blankets and diapers—they had also lost all of their possessions, including irreplaceable photos of Jorge.

Within hours of the fire, the New York Red Cross provided Maria and her kids with vital emergency support: diapers and a blanket for the baby, a debit card to purchase essential items, and hotel lodging for the entire family. Since then, the Red Cross has helped the Castros get settled into a more permanent home.

“As a mother protecting her children,” said Maria, “if I didn’t have the Red Cross to put us in a hotel, I think I would have just gone to a hospital waiting room to sleep. At least it would be warm and safe there for my kids. Otherwise, we’d be on the streets.”

“My kids are my priority,” she added. She admitted that the past few months have been especially hard on Diamond, who, at 12, is old enough to absorb the pain.

“My daughter cried a lot and said things like, ‘I lost my big brother. Now we are losing our home. What else will happen to us?’” Maria said.

For now, Maria tries to provide her kids a sense of comfort in the routine. On the first Sunday after the fire, she took them to church and then to get ice cream, as they had every other Sunday. That was when Diamond asked her what the Red Cross does.

“I explained to her how the Red Cross has helped us,” Maria said. “And she said, ‘The Red Cross makes us safe. Without the Red Cross, we would be sleeping in our car, Mom.’”

These days, when you ask Maria how she is doing now, she speaks evenly, but then her voice cracks.

“I will not forget about him,” she said. “Everything is hitting me and I’ve got to be strong. I have to stay focused. I thank God every day for waking me up. I say, ‘Today’s a new day, I have to keep my head up.”

With the help of the Red Cross, this task has hopefully been made a little easier.