It may be apocryphal, but the story is told that back in the day when the American Red Cross began Disaster Relief Operations, one volunteer asked a person getting food from the Emergence Response Vehicle if there was anything else she needed. “I wish I knew where I could get some bleach to kill the mold,” was the ready reply. That simple request, repeated many times by others with the same problem, led quickly to the Red Cross adding Bulk Distribution of cleaning supplies to the array of Mass Care disaster relief services.
The initial phase of a Red Cross relief effort is obviously focused on getting food delivery and shelters set up and running for those in need. Then in Phase II, clean-up kits and personal comfort kits are distributed by the thousands to neighborhoods with major damage. Bulk distribution of these essential products was initiated Saturday, November 10th for the victims of Superstorm Sandy throughout New York and New Jersey as an army of trucks and volunteers spread out for a concentrated delivery program lasting all weekend.
Red Cross Clean-up kits contain bottles of bleach, all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer, along with sponges, brushes, mops, brooms, a water bucket and plastic trash bags. In the personal comfort kits, victims will find a Red Cross blanket, flashlight, hand warmers and gloves and bath cloths, along with a Red Cross pamphlet with sound advice on helping families, especially children, deal emotionally with the aftermath of a disaster.
A 12-ft box truck loaded with water, personal comfort kits and heater meals arrived at the Babylon Town Hall about 9:00 am, and within less than an hour fifty volunteers from the Suffolk County Red Cross Chapter had it unloaded and ready to load in to automobiles that drove through the site. The distribution continued through the afternoon till 4:00 pm. In addition over 1,000 hot meals were served by four loaded ERVs from the nearby Deer Park mobile kitchen. Similar distribution sites were operating simultaneously at four other Long Island locations.
The Red Cross site at Lindenhurst distributed food, water and bulk products that will assist over 2,000 residents accomplish the daunting task of cleaning out their homes and taking a giant step toward recovery. Several grateful residents who witnessed the distribution, and stopped to donate money to the effort, were instructed to donate on-line at www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Texting the word RED CROSS to 90999 is also a way to send $10.00 to support the Hurricane Sandy relief fund.