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American Red Cross Continues Relief Efforts in the Midwest
Central New Jersey Volunteers Assisting

Date: June 27, 2008
Contacts:

Diane Concannon, Central New Jersey Chapter
Office: 609.951.2116; Cell: 609.206.4043;concannond@njredcross.org
and
Amy J. Sutton, Greater Somerset County Chapter
Office: 908-725-2217; asutton@covad.net

EDITORIAL NOTE: The American Red Cross has created an online newsroom, http://redcrossmidwestflooding.wordpress.com/, to keep news media informed about current relief operations underway in flooded communities across then Central United States.

PRINCETON, NJ, June 27, 2008 – As residents affected by flooding and severe weather in the central United States begin the slow process of recovery, the American Red Cross is still on the scene across eight states, providing food, comfort, information and other assistance to those in need.

To date, the American Red Cross has provided more than 780,000 meals and snacks; distributed more than 45,000 kits to help people with the clean-up; and has processed more than 8,000 client cases.

Nine Disaster Relief Volunteers from Central New Jersey have been deployed to the Midwest to assist with these relief efforts; four from the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey and five from the Greater Somerset Chapter. Their varied roles have included Disaster Assessment, Feeding, Bulk Distribution and Client Casework.

How does the Red Cross help? In each case, the situation for the individual or family is initially assessed by a trained Red Cross caseworker. An interview takes place to determine the extent of need, and the amount and type of assistance the Red Cross can supply to the affected individual or family.

There are two types of assistance the American Red Cross can provide – hard and soft. Hard assistance provides material items and may include feeding, shelter, clean-up kits, comfort kits and financial assistance. When disaster-related emergency needs have been verified, financial help can be delivered in the form of a Client Assistance Card. This is a pre-paid debit card that allows victims of the disaster to get essentials which may include anything from diapers and baby formula to shoes and clothing. Soft assistance minimizes immediate disaster-caused suffering through listening, guidance, advocacy, and counseling.

Donald Webster’s home in Cedar Rapids, IA, was destroyed during the flooding. “I’m feeling a lot better after getting help from the Red Cross,” he said, “I feel like something has started. I'm looking forward to getting a new bed and bedding so I can finally have a good night's sleep. It's time to start a new life.”

The experience for the Red Cross volunteer is very rewarding; knowing someone in need is being helped. “These assignments help me put my life in perspective,” said volunteer Joan Smith upon her recent return home to West Amwell Township. “These people have lost so much, yet they are so appreciative.”

Many blood drives in the Midwest have been canceled due to the widespread flooding and the Red Cross is asking residents in other areas unaffected by this disaster to give blood to help ensure blood supplies are stable. Please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or visit www.pleasegiveblood.org to schedule an appointment at a blood drive or a Blood Donor Center near you.

People affected by the flooding and extreme weather need your help. The best way to help the Red Cross continue to provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to victims of disasters is to make a financial contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund. Donors can contribute via the internet at www.RedCross.org, by phone at 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or by mail: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

Visit www.RedCross.org to find out the latest information and learn how you can help.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the tornadoes and floods in the Central United States, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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