Superstorm Sandy: a Red Cross volunteer’s perspective

For the last week, and even still now, one of the biggest headlines in the news is Hurricane Sandy. Days before she hit in New Jersey, the tri-state area, along with other states along the East Coast were preparing for her arrival. Residents as well as city and state officials began to prepare and take all the necessary steps. I was going around spreading the word to my family and friends about making sure they had an emergency kit. My family, especially my brother, laughed at me as I ran around the house putting those last minute items in the bag. As Sandy got closer to making landfall in New Jersey and the winds began to pick up, my brother thanked me for preparing the family.

I knew any minute the electricity would go out as I walked around the house with my flashlight. Sandy finally hit New Jersey and hours passed and not even a flicker of the lights at my house in Philadelphia. As I watched the news that night, I was just speechless and felt so lucky after seeing all the damage that Sandy had caused. Thousands of people were without electricity, properties had sustained damage, trees were down, there was extensive flooding, lives were lost and much more all because of one hurricane.

As a volunteer with the Red Cross, I was just waiting for the opportunity to help. One of the great things about being a volunteer is there are many ways that you can help and show your support. On Friday November 2nd I had the opportunity to participate in the Help our Neighbors telephone drive held at 6abc. For 3 non stop hours from 4pm-7pm people from all over the tri-state area called wanting to make a donation and show their support. Several people that I spoke with on the phones had been days without electricity, some shared stories and memories about taking family trips to some of the jersey shore areas that were badly damaged. Others, like myself, who were not affected at all and just wanted to show their support. I also spoke to several people who wanted to thank the Red Cross for all that they have and will be doing as well as all the utility  workers, fire, police, city and state officials, news reporters and everyone else that had been working non-stop to help.

As I spoke with the different donors on the phone, and felt the tingling in my ears from being on the phone for so long, it put a smile on my face. I was a little overwhelmed and just amazed at how much people cared so much about others and how communities and states can come together to help one another when tragedies occur. It also made me feel great to be apart of an organization like the American Red Cross.

-Jennifer Ingram
Communications volunteer

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