It Takes a (Bay) Village to Help Hurricane Victims

Garage Sale Raises More than Ten Grand for Hurricane Relief

As the weather grows colder in Northeast Ohio, garage sale season is winding down, but that didn’t stop the residents of Bay Village from holding a community-wide garage sale during the first weekend in October.

Proceeds from the sale of the hand-me-down duds, forlorn furniture and unwanted weed-wackers went to the American Red Cross, to help fund disaster relief efforts following one of the most active hurricane seasons on record.

Sales totaled more than $10,000.

“So many people wanted to help, but didn’t know how,” said Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar.  “Then Annie came up with the idea of holding the community garage sale.”

Annie Nock, a former attorney and current stay-at-home mom, said she wanted to raise money to help people who have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“Annie’s effort, and the generosity of the people of Bay Village is truly humbling,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross.  “The proceeds from this community-wide effort will help people who have suffered greatly this hurricane season.”

Annie helped present a check for $10,154.73 at Bay Village City Hall.

 

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“It’s very difficult to travel south to help the people affected by the hurricanes,” Mayor Koomar said.  “This was a way to give back.  The support was overwhelming.”

With the emergency phase of the Red Cross response completed, efforts are now focusing on long-term recovery programs to get people back on their feet.  If you’d like to help people recover from disasters, big and small, donate at redcross.org/neo, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

On Being a Phone Bank Volunteer for Hurricane Harvey Relief

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Your alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and its pitch-dark outside. You shower, shave, fill your travel mug with coffee and head for the garage. Traffic is amazingly light at 6:00 a.m., which is one of the benefits of starting so early, you tell yourself.

You and seven of your fellow Red Crossers are heading to the Cleveland ABC affiliate – WEWS Channel 5 TV, for the start of an all-day Hurricane Harvey fund raiser.  Only the all-night anchors are here, so there’s plenty of parking spaces to choose from.

graphiconscreenThe studio is all set for us.  Tables are arranged, phones are ready and a large flat screen announces the Red Cross website URL, phone number and text information for a quick pledge.

One-by-one, Red Cross volunteers, employees and even a board member file in and take their place at the tables.  Four shifts are planned, so plenty of people can take part in this 6:00 a.m until 11:00 p.m. phone bank effort.Thursday phonebank

In fact, this is our second phone bank. Three days prior, another group of volunteers manned the phones from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and were inundated with calls. “It was non-stop calling,” one volunteer said. “As soon as you hung up the call, there was another one ringing on the same line.”

 

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The cameraman comes in and suggests a slight modification to our seating arrangement.  We’ve begun the countdown to going ‘On Air.’

“We’re live in ten seconds,” says the cameraman, and we are off, fielding phone calls from across Northeastern Ohio.

By this time, there’s probably no one in America that hasn’t heard about the devastation being wrought upon Texas and Louisiana.  News anchors compare the total rainfall to the amount of water in Lake Michigan, and another asks you to visualize the amount of water flowing over the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Now consider that flow for nine months straight, and you’ve got an idea how much water fell in just a few days in Texas.

“Oh my,” says the first caller. “Thank you for doing this for those poor people.  I only wish I could give more.  They must need so much help.”

Another caller is so distraught that she asks for a few seconds to collect herself, before completing her credit card information.  Actually, many of the callers were quite emotional, knowing the stress and anguish being felt by the thousands of victims.

“I don’t know what those people would do if it weren’t for the Red Cross and the other agencies down there,” says another.  This was a recurrent theme all morning.

By the end of the first shift, you start to compare numbers of callers and amounts raised. Amounts donated ranged from $10 to $1,000 this morning.  Even larger amounts were reported from that first phone bank and possibly will be duplicated later in the day. Northeast Ohio has always been famous for its immense generosity whenever a need like this occurs, and it’s a great privilege to help out those so desperately in need.

You turn over your phone to the next volunteer, already missing the opportunity to talk with more like-minded Ohioans, bound to make a difference for the victims in Texas and Louisiana.

Won’t you join us? The American Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers. Sign up today to donate or to volunteer at http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer. 

 

 

 

Good Food, Good Drink, Good Cause

Fundraisers like this don’t come around very often.

Enjoy acclaimed Bodegas Salentein wines and an exceptional menu of appetizers crafted by Texas de Brazil this Wednesday, April 26.  Tickets cost just $35, and $30 from each ticket will benefit American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces.

Tickets are available here.