More than four months after Superstorm Sandy’s landfall, donations to the American Red Cross are helping people with food, emotional support and long-term assistance. We will continue to be there as Sandy survivors and these communities recover and rebuild. The Red Cross has been distributing an average of 30,000 meals and snacks each day in New York. This includes our support for several community food banks to help provide meals to people in the hardest hit areas.
A big part of our recovery efforts is working one-on-one with people. Trained Red Cross workers are helping people get assistance with home repairs, rent, utility deposits, and connecting them with social service programs. They also work with government agencies, leaders and other nonprofits in a coordinated way to help people recover. FEMA and other government partners asked us to focus first on an estimated 9,000 families whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged to assist them in moving into longer-term rental housing or repairing their homes.
The Red Cross is also giving grants to support the work of a broad coalition of nonprofits. This has included grants of nearly $6 million to three food banks in New York to help people who still need access to food, $500,000 to Operation Hope to provide assistance and financial counseling to survivors, and $5 million to a mold remediation program to help New York residents clean up their homes.
Superstorm Sandy is the largest U.S. response by the Red Cross in more than five years, and our emergency relief efforts for Sandy has continued for months, much longer than most other disasters. So far, we have:
-Served 16 million meals and snacks.
-Handed out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and cleanup supplies.
-Provided nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
-Mobilized a total of more than 17,000 trained workers who have rotated through to help. About 90 percent of them are volunteers from all over the country.
-Overall, a range of groups provided more than 163,000 shelter stays for Sandy, and the Red Cross provided more than 81,000 of those stays.
The Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend about $145 million to date; just over half the money we’ve raised for Sandy. That is a large amount of money to be spent in such a short period of time, but as we’ve seen with other disasters, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Immediately after a disaster, response organizations deliver emergency relief to thousands of people in shelters and neighborhood blocks. But during recovery, the work must be one-on one, and that takes more time and is less visible. To date, Red Cross staffers have already made nearly 22,000 contacts with people on their recovery efforts.
Our Katrina recovery work lasted for five years, our work in Haiti is now in its third year and we’re still helping families in Joplin, Missouri. Housing is the biggest need right now, and we know it will take time to rebuild houses and businesses.
As the recovery goes on, the needs of survivors will evolve. It’s important to make sure some money is available for those needs no one can predict right now. For example, a year after the Joplin tornado, mental health assistance became an issue again as people grappled with the one-year anniversary.
However long it takes, the Red Cross has committed that that money donated for Sandy will be used to help the individuals and communities affected. We will be transparent about how the money is being spent and you can check redcross.org for our three-month progress report.
Please click below to make a donation, in their honor: