Red Cross continues to aid town, seeks blood donations

There is no doubt that Superstorm Sandy struck Greenwich with a sizable blow last week, but thanks to the efforts of American Red Cross workers, a number of residents were able to find relief from the storm’s impact.

According to Abigail Adams, communications officer for the American Red Cross’ Greater New York Region, which has its office in Greenwich, volunteers and employees of the organization came from all over the country to the aid of their local counterparts. Managers from Mississippi to Michigan came to town to assist at the Eastern Middle School emergency shelter, where at one point 115 people took residence at the height of the facility’s use.

It was because of the “critical support” provided by these “extraordinary people” from out of state that local workers were able to keep going, providing residents with meals, showers, charging stations and activities, Ms. Adams said.

On Monday, the town’s Department of Health and the American Red Cross consolidated their shelters into one at the Eastern Middle School location and the population of residents there has been waning. “But that can always change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Ms. Adams said, while Red Cross workers have been helping the town recover, many of the organization’s blood drives have been canceled due to the storm, resulting in significant loss of blood and platelet products. Although donating blood is not directly related to assisting in Sandy’s aftermath, it is the most helpful thing residents can do to help, she explained.

Additionally, Ms. Adams said, donations to American Red Cross are especially helpful at this time, while the organization is running large, costly emergency operations. In fact, the response to the storm is likely to be the biggest Red Cross response in the United States in the past five years.

A common misconception the public has, however, is that the organization accepts food donations, she said. Instead, those who would like to donate food and household items or clothing should contact local food banks or visit nvoad.org for a list of organizations that accept these types of donations. Greenwich’s food bank Neighbor to Neighbor may be reached at 203-622-9208 or by e-mail to [email protected]

According to the town, the Department of Health has closed the sheltering segment of its operation at the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center, but the American Red Cross continues to maintain the facility as a reception and warming center during normal civic center hours. Residents are able to recharge their electronic devices, get out of the cold and enjoy a small snack there.

The sheltering facility at Eastern Middle School will continue to operate around the clock. For more information on sheltering or the reception center, call the non-emergency hotline at 203-622-8000.

To schedule a blood donation or get more information about giving blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

To contribute to American Red Cross funding, visit redcross.org, call 800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Those with free Red Cross apps may also use the “donate” feature to support the Red Cross relief response.

 

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