Much-Needed Relief

During a rain-filled spring that left many throughout the Chautauqua region underwater, the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York responded by providing residents shelter and flood clean up kits.

To assist with future flooding and other disasters in the community, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation awarded $10,000 to the Red Cross from the Chautauqua County Assistance Fund. To date, the Chautauqua County Assistance Fund has granted over $50,000 to the Red Cross for disaster relief services.

According to Bill Tucker, American Red Cross of Southwestern New York executive director, this grant will enhance the impact volunteers are making in the community to provide local disaster relief.

“Volunteers do over 90 percent of our essential humanitarian service delivery to families in need here in Chautauqua County. Our volunteers are incredibly dedicated, and are the next to respond, right after our wonderful first responders, whenever a family needs aid in the aftermath of a disaster. None of our work would be possible without the tremendous time, effort, and knowledge contributed by our phenomenal volunteers, or without the generous financial contributions we receive from our local supporters.”

Chautauqua County disaster response teams are trained to respond to the “silent disasters” that occur on a regular basis, to include single family and multi-family house fires. While they do not get the attention that other major disasters may get, these events are just as catastrophic to families that have lost everything and are in need of immediate shelter, food, clothing and emotional support. In addition, when major disasters occur in other parts of our nation, these same volunteers are called upon to travel to the impacted areas and to use their experience to help others in need.

Over the last 11 months, Red Cross disaster volunteers serving Chautauqua County have conducted 48 operations to provide disaster relief to 315 people, provided direct financial aid to 166 residents, and opened 10 shelters in response to floods, blizzards and road closures. The Red Cross in Chautauqua County has also provided free preparedness training to 647 residents as part of their initiative to help improve community resiliency.

If you would like to become a trained Red Cross disaster volunteer able to respond locally, regionally or nationally, call the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York at 664-5115 or go to redcross.org/swny and learn how to join.

For more information on the local chapter of the Red Cross and the services they offer, or to make a donation, visit redcross.org. For more information on the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, visit crcfonline.org.