MVPs of Hurricane Sandy Relief are the Volunteers


StevewellsSteve Wells, 
– Emergencies Logistics Manager

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

November 13, 2012


The Superstorm’s force was like a 300 pound NFL linebacker
tackling a high school cheerleader.  That’s when we called in our relief
lineup – a crew of Save the Children volunteers dedicated to helping kids
affected by natural disasters.

The first to arrive were teams from Church Communities
International. They literally did a lot of the heavy lifting. Hauling boxes of
kid-friendly supplies all over affected areas of New Jersey, they loaded boxes
of relief items such as baby shampoo, diapers, blankets, books – and footballs!
Yes, footballs.

Matthieu and Ken made a great team. Credit_Pe CrumpKids in shelters lack healthy exercise and fun. That’s why a
key part of our work is the Child-Friendly Space program – a safe place where
kids can be kids. Our volunteers also helped staff the Child-Friendly Spaces.
These trained, caring adults create an environment where kids can work through
difficult emotions as a result of the storm and increase their ability
to “bounce back”.

Matthieu was one of the older kids in the Child-Friendly
Space. He picked up a football from the toy box and began tossing it like he
was looking for a pick-up game. That’s when a bunch of the volunteers had the
great idea to rally the kids for a game of catch. It went on for quite a while,
but the kids said the time flew by. “This was the best day ever,” said
Matthieu, out of breath from play.

Later that night, some of the volunteers were told they were
rotating out – a new crew was coming in to tackle the work. When he heard the
news he would be leaving, one young man who had been playing ball looked down
at the table. When I turned to see his face, he wiped away tears. Having felt
that way before, we all knew he was going to miss the wonderful kids.

I want to use this blog post to thank all of our volunteers,
truly some of the most valuable players in emergency response.

If you want to volunteer for Save the Children, please check
out our volunteer opportunities online
.

Hopefully, Matthieu will soon be back to playing ball
in his own backyard. Kids like Matthieu need caring people to support Save the
Children’s long termresponse efforts.
Please give generously to our 
Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Helping Children Cope With Emotional Distress After Hurricane Sandy

PcrumpPenny Crump – Web Writer/Editor

Bronx, NY 

November 11, 2012

 


Hurricane Sandy took almost everything from Marisol. Fleeing her home with little more than clothes on her back, she waited out the storm at the safety of her Aunt’s house. Her mom, Rachel, stayed behind to protect their meager belongings from looters in a very rough neighborhood in New York.

Rachel had been told that they would be safe in their fourth floor apartment. But the winds and rain proved too much for their rundownbuilding.

The roof collapsed around her, destroying most of their belongings and killing Marisol’s little kitten.

Marisol-rachel“I haven’t told Marisol about her kitten yet, she’s been through too much already,” said Rachel. “I’m relieved she was at her Aunt’s when it happened.”

I spoke with many other families like Mariol’swho lived in apartments that have been condemned due to storm damage. They have no place to go home to – crowded shelters are their only refuge until temporary housing programs get fully up and running.

It’s in these shelters that Save the Children offers our Child-Friendly Spaces program. It gives girls and boys a safe area where they can play, have fun and express themselves under the supervision of caring, trained adults. It helpskids build self-esteem, work through difficult emotions and increase their ability to “bounce back”. 

Rachel was relieved to see Marisol having fun with the other children in our program. “I am just overwhelmed to see my daughter playing and happy again,” she said while choking back tears.

I told her, “It’s ok, we’ll get through this together”.

Hopefully, Marisol will feel safe and secure again soon. Kids like Marisol need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Health Concerns Rise as Children Remain in Shelters After Hurricane Sandy


Pcrump
Penny Crump – Web Writer/Editor

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

November 5, 2012


In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with temperatures
dropping, Save the Children rushed to deliver blankets and other cold-weather
supplies to Hurricane Sandy survivors.

One of the children we’ve been helping is 4-year-old Didi. While Didi got an imaginary
“check-up” from her older cousin “Dr. Kelly” at our Child-Friendly Space,
other children needed real-life medical attention at the shelter. With everyone
staying in close quarters, exhausted from the upheaval and a nor’easter on the
way, conditions are primed for kids to catch colds – or worse.

R110212_SANDY___8_107553

To help keep children warm, we’re sending cozy onesies,
jammies, hats and mittens.

Save the Children is also delivering educational materials
to our Child-Friendly Spaces to help reinforce healthy hygiene, the best line
of defense against diseases. Things like hand-washing and eating healthy snacks
can help kids fight colds, and promotes healthy behaviors in the future.

What’s more, we’re providing parents with the supplies they
need to help keep kids clean and healthy, such as diapers, nutritious snacks
and hygiene supplies.

Hopefully,
Didi will be able to go home to a safe, warm home soon. Kids like Didi need
caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give
generously to our
 Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

There's No Place Like Home


PcrumpPenny Crump, Web Writer/Editor

New Jersey, USA

November 4, 2012


After meeting
Kelly at a Hurricane Sandy shelter in North Jersey, I thought I’d never see her
again as she got onto a bus headed back home. I was happy she’d be able to sleep
in her own bed. She’d hopefully find her home intact, including her beloved
stuffed monkey named Rosy who got left behind when her family was evacuated.

I was playing tea
party with some little girls in our Child-Friendly Space, when I heard a familiar
voice. It was Kelly! She called out to her little cousin Didi age 2, who was
delicately eating an imaginary cupcake at our party. Peals of delight filled my
ears, as they made that squealing noise in a register that only little girls
can produce.

Didi-2-kelly-8-releasedKelly seemed in
good spirits, but my heart went out to her knowing that she would be staying in
a shelter once again. She told me that after they left the shelter where we
met, they tried to go home.
Their modest apartment was unharmed by the
storm, but the heat still wasn’t working.  Kelly dashed through the
apartment to her closet, where she found Rosy! They tried to sleep in their own
beds, but it was just too cold. After the storm, the temperature dropped
dramatically — it was in the 30s with wicked winds. Her parents decided take
Kelly and her little brothers to an economy motel for the night and return to a
shelter until their heat comes back on. With a nor’easter coming, warmth is all
the more important.

Knowing Save the
Children would be at the shelter with toys, her mom, Natividad decided it would
be best to travel light and leave Rosy safe at home. Kelly was ok with that and
held tight to Didi.

Not soon after
she arrived, Kelly made fast friends with two other little girls. They had so
much energy to burn off having been cooped up in shelters for nearly a week.
With all four of us holding hands, we went skipping around the shelter singing
“We’re Off to See the Wizard”. There really is no place like home, but we're
thankful we can help kids make the best of it while they're here at the
shelter!

Kids like Kelly
and Didi need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts.
Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Kelly Keeps Her Hopes Up After Hurricane Sandy

Penny CrumpPenny Crump, Web Writer/Editor

New Jersey, USA

November 3, 2012



“I forgot Rosy!” Kelly said, with worry in her voice. Rosy was left behind when Kelly and her family evacuated due to Hurricane Sandy. Rosy is Kelly’s oldest and dearest friend – her stuffed monkey.

I met Kelly at our Child-Friendly space at a shelter in New Jersey. Save the Children provides a safe place for kids to play, read and cope with the aftermath of the ‘superstorm’. It can be scary for kids in disaster shelters, surrounded by strangers and going without the comforts of home.

Kelly and her family have been in shelters since Sunday night when Hurricane Sandy was on a path that would soon devastate their community in New Jersey.

Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.


Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.
Photo Credit: Penny Crump / Save the Children.


Kelly is in third grade and looks forward to seeing her school friends and returning to art class. One of the things she likes at the shelter is that there are art supplies and other activities for kids. Kelly also liked the books and enjoyed a “tea party” with some of her little playmates.

Kelly keeps a watchful eye on her little brothers, Kevin and Kenny. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and you can tell by how patient she is with them that she’ll be a great caregiver someday. She really appreciated the toys for her brothers – dinosaurs and wild beasts. There were also fun games for older kids, as well as books. Kelly likes mystery novels best, they help keep her mind off a very difficult situation.

“I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to go home” she tells me. She’s concerned about the apartment where her family lives as it’s in a low-lying, distressed community. “The first thing I am going to do when I get home is check on Rosy.”

Kids like Kelly need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief from your mobile phone. When you receive a text message, reply YES. (Standard text messaging rates apply.) Read the fine print.