Over the past year, the American Red Cross in Nassau County has seen an increase in the number of local disasters it responds to, which is rapidly depleting the nonprofit's funds. To help bolster its ability to provide relief, the Nassau Red Cross, and its 11 high school Red Cross clubs, will host the first-ever "Cross Walk for Local Disaster Relief " at Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, March 29.
The 5-kilometer walkathon is open to all ages and promises to put the "fun" back into fundraising, according to Frank Cassano, chief executive officer of the Nassau Red Cross.
"We hope that people of all ages will come down, with their families, and have a little fun while helping their fellow Long Islanders," Cassano said. "People need to realize that their local Red Cross chapter cannot perform its mission without the support of the community it serves. Considering that this idea came from our local high school clubs, I'm confident that it'll be a great success."
In its 2007 fiscal year, the Nassau Red Cross responded to 81 local disasters-mainly house fires-and provided $101,000 worth of direct relief to 443 Nassau residents. Having already responded to nearly 90 incidents in the 2008 fiscal year-with $110,000 expended to 500 residents-the chapter has exceeded its budget with four months still left in the year. Direct relief is monies given to those affected in the form of food, clothing and temporary shelter.
To help make the event a day to remember, the Nassau Red Cross has enlisted the support of several sponsors. Thanks to the United Way of Long Island, all participants will receive free event T-shirts and light refreshments before the walk. Coca Cola is providing free bottled water and T-Mobile will help fund prizes for the top fundraisers. WBLI 106.1 FM will play music. The New York Islanders will bring their Family Fan Fest, which includes a slap shot booth, moon bounce and obstacle course. Sparky, the Islander's mascot, will help kickoff the walk along with the Ice Girls.
The Cross Walk will begin at Picnic Field 6A. Registration and check-in begins at 9 a.m. The walk will begin at 11 a.m. The participation fee is $20 for those ages 13 and over; and $10 for those 12 and under. There is no fee for young children being pushed in strollers; however, they will not receive event T-shirts unless the fee is paid. Walkers are encouraged to compete for prizes by raising additional funds. The course is paved and wheelchairs are welcomed.
Walkers are also encouraged to form, register and fundraise as teams. Teams must have a minimum of four members and the fee is $15 each (regardless of age). To receive the discounted entry though, teams must register before March 20-only individual registrations will be accepted at the event. The top-three fundraising teams will receive trophies to display in their school, office, home, etc.
Registration materials are available through the American Red Cross in Nassau County, located at 195 Willis Avenue in Mineola. Forms are also available-as is secure, online registration-through www.nassauredcross.org. For further information, please call 747-3500, ext 215 or 239.