by Doris Wolf
Sometimes the best gift is a bowl of hot chili or a steaming cup of hot cocoa at a fire in the middle of a snowstorm in December. And sometimes it is the funds to purchase a generator to keep the food warm.
The American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes often is called upon to assist local residents during fires, power outages and storms by providing food to victims and first responders. Those efforts were made a lot easier this summer when IESI Seneca Meadows presented a check to the Red Cross so it could purchase a generator for the Disaster Response Trailer.
And it came just in time, said Lynne Tyler, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.
About 10 days after the generator arrived, Red Cross was called on by the Seneca County Emergency Management Office to assist families in Rivermist, Barrington and Peterman Apartments in Seneca Falls.
On May 30, the apartment neighborhood lost power during a storm, leaving many families without a way to prepare food. Some families lost food that had been stored in freezers or refrigerators. Many families did not have transportation to go to a store to get new food. Adding to the families’ difficulties was the fact that it was the last day of the month and many were out of food stamps.
Would the Red Cross come and put on a picnic dinner for the neighborhood? asked EMO director Charlie McCann when he called the Red Cross at 2:30 p.m.. Of course, said Cheryl Hoggard, Emergency Services Director.
She quickly mobilized scores of volunteers. The disaster trailer, fully equipped with materials and supplies and its new generator, was ready to go. Volunteers loaded food, beverages and snacks into the trailer and were feeding the hungry families by 6 p.m. More than 230 meals were served to the residents that evening.
But that was not the only time the generator was called on for service this summer. The disaster response trailer was ready and on standby when the tornado struck Elmira in late July. Sixty-five volunteers from the area assisted with response and recovery efforts.
Had the tornado hit here, the Finger Lakes Chapter would be doing feeding, distribution of cleanup kits and other support, Tyler said.
“Since we never know when a disaster will hit our area, we have to be prepared,” she said. “The generator for the trailer is a big step in that preparedness. We thank Seneca Meadows for its generous gift and for additional financial support for our disaster program, which has been hard hit this year.”
“Every nine minutes. That’s about how often we respond to a family or individual recovering from a flood, house fire, hurricane, tornado or other disaster within the US. I’ve seen the heartache these disasters can bring. But I’ve also seen relief on the faces of those who made it through the storm. Time and time again, being prepared saves lives. Learn how to make a plan to protect your family by visiting RedCross.org today. “
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