A Man and His Bullhorn: Making a Difference

November 28, 2012

Story and photo by Bob Wallace

James Hodges is an enthusiastic advocate for his Pinetown neighborhood on Long Island, hard hit by Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross is delivering relief supplies to the Martin Luther King Community Center there because local stores can’t yet meet the needs.

LONG BEACH, N.Y. – James Hodges is not one to look the other way when a community is in need.

The Pinetown area of Long Beach, on the south edge of Long Island, was without gas, electricity and heat for days after Superstorm Sandy. Hodges sprang into action and organized a distribution point for food, clothing and other much needed supplies at the Martin Luther King Community Center.

“Pinetown has the largest concentration of children in the city,” noted Hodges, “and hunger is not a stranger here.”

Those who could, responded to his prodding and soon the center was stocked with many of the essentials that families lost when storm-force winds and tidal surges tore through their neighborhoods.

The American Red Cross supports many grass-roots relief operations such as this, providing free hot meals, clean-up supplies, medical items and emotional support from 3 to 7 p.m. daily. The city of Long Beach has also assigned an employee to support Hodge’s efforts, and there is hope that utilities will soon be fully restored.

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Red Cross Volunteers Receive Thanks

November 28, 2012

Story by Sue Kariker
Photo by Destry Carr

NEW YORK – Thousands of American Red Cross volunteers donating their time to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy faced being away from family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The New York City chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association responded with a donation of its own: A full Thanksgiving dinner for more than 300 Red Crossers on duty at the relief operation headquarters in Manhattan.

“Our association wanted to recognize the outpouring of help given by the Red Cross and other charitable organizations,” said James Versocki, counsel for the association’s New York chapter.

The restaurateurs’ offer reached Frank Sledjeski, a Red Cross in-kind donations volunteer who coordinated the appreciation lunch.

“The restaurant community is incredibly giving. With so many restaurants affected by the hurricane, they still wanted to thank the many people that helped,” Versocki said.

Turkey Day Delivery

November 28, 2012

By Sue Kariker
Photo by Ginger Winings

FAR ROCKAWAYS, N.Y. – There’s more than one way to fill a hungry stomach.

For weeks, the familiar red-and-white American Red Cross trucks have been delivering meals to two senior housing complexes in Beach Channel on the southwest edge of Long Island, where Superstorm Sandy left widespread devastation.

More than 600 residents turn out to receive the carry-out clamshells of food they have come to rely on until power is restored and nearby stores reopen.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, however, the Red Cross trucks carried a bonus: Each resident received a cooler filled with non-perishable food to tide them over while the organization restocked and refueled for the Thanksgiving weekend push.

The Red Cross teamed up with the National Guard, which had been patrolling Long Beach Island – in the hard-hit Far Rockaways – for nearly four weeks.

“The partnership between the National Guard and the Red Cross has been saving the lives of the fragile population,” said Ruth Larkin, a resident of the Beach Street Senior Housing Complex who helped organize the handout at the high-rises.

Red Cross disaster responders would be working throughout the holiday weekend to get meals and comfort to families and individuals affected by Sandy, but they couldn’t be everywhere at once.

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