The holiday season is upon us, typically a very busy time of the year filled with parties, shopping and traveling to be with family and friends. As we take time to look back over the previous months and recount our blessings, the American Red Cross in Nassau County wants to express its heartfelt gratitude for the generous support that we receive from Long Islanders.
We are grateful because it was a very busy year for disasters and your support enabled the American Red Cross to provide disaster relief and assistance to more than 550,000 families who were affected by large-scale disasters - roughly the population of Denver, CO.
These are the top five disasters that you may have heard about this past year:
Hurricane Lili/Tropical Storm Isidore
October 2002 (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama). Cost: $15.8 million. Families assisted: 75,256. Our Emergency Response Vehicle from Nassau County was deployed to assist.
Texas Floods and Tornadoes
March-October 2002. Cost: $13.5 Million. Families assisted: 25,448.
April-July 2002 (Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon). Cost: $8.1 Million. Families assisted: 8,010. One of our volunteers from East Meadow went to assist.
Veterans Day Tornadoes
November 2002 (Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia). Cost: $3.7 Million. Families assisted: 3,939.
July 2002 (Guam). Cost: $5.4 Million. Families assisted: 3,998.
What you didn't hear about, though, are the more than 67,000 in-state disaster responses that our 987 chapters across the country responded to this year. There is no such thing as a small disaster. A one-alarm house fire is just as devastating for the family that experiences it as a tornado or a hurricane - and 93 percent of all Red Cross disaster responses are single-family fires.
The American people count on the Red Cross to be there, with food, shelter, clothing, crisis counseling and other vital services when disaster strikes. We meet that expectation day in and day out in hometowns all across the country thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and our staff, the support of our business and community partners, and the generous financial gifts from the public.
However, even when the weather outside isn't frightful, the American Red Cross still needs your help. Your financial donation today means that we can provide comfort and a safe haven for families affected by tragedy tomorrow. You can support your local Red Cross chapter by calling (516) 747-3500. Your financial gift this holiday season will help chapters continue to support their communities every season.
If you would like to find out more information about your local Red Cross chapter, please visit our website at www.NassauRedCross.org.
On behalf of the 550,000-plus families helped by the Red Cross this year, and the untold thousands who will need help in the year to come, thank you for your generosity. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Director of Emergency Services
Editor's note: Betuel is a resident of Franklin Square