New Jersey Volunteers In The Gulf Region For Hurricane Isaac

Hello, my name is Priyanka Joshi and I have recently joined the American Red Cross North Jersey Region. As its Communications Manager, I have been learning about disaster relief and how we aid communities facing emergencies here in NJ, across the country and around the world. It has been an education.

Prior to this, last year’s Hurricane Irene was memorable to me chiefly because it wiped out all the groceries from my neighborhood store by the time I got there and I had to eat canned tuna salad for dinner. That same evening, the Red Cross was feeding 13,000 people in shelters in not only New Jersey but all along the eastern seaboard! Just last night, as Isaac barreled forward, about 5,200 people spent the night in more than 80 Red Cross and community shelters in 6 states.

Red Cross North Jersey Region volunteers Victor Prasad (in driver’s seat) and Kyle Chu prepare to bring the Emergency Response Vehicle to Mississippi on August 27, 2012.

All this week, as Isaac surged, it was heartening to see 20 North Jersey Region volunteers fly and drive down in our Emergency Response Vehicles to help out in the south.

The ERV is a mobile feeding station, which will serve meals and distribute disaster relief items to those affected (once it’s safe to do so). The national organization has deployed a fleet of more than 180 of these vehicles from around the country.

Several of the volunteers sent from our region had helped out for weeks in the Gulf region during the months of response following Hurricane Katrina. One of our newer volunteers who was deploying to Florida last week, told me he had recently retired after years as a government employee and couldn’t wait to start disaster relief work with the Red Cross to help those affected by Hurricane Isaac. It was so important for him to be a productive member of society. It filled my heart with gratitude and propelled me to do my bit for Hurricane Isaac relief work.

We need your help with this very large relief response. The Red Cross will be there for weeks helping people recover and after a difficult summer of responding to wildfires, power outages and floods, our resources are stretched. Please donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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