Each year, the American Red Cross meets with our state representatives to educate them about the services we provide to their constituents. This helps to build strong relationships, opens lines of communication, and fosters partnership opportunities. The Red Cross in New York State is comprised of three regions – Eastern New York, Greater New York, and Western New York.  Approximately 45 Red Cross board members, volunteers and staff met with legislators from across the state.

Members of the State Assembly and Senate were invited to a presentation from State Relations Director Sara Rosenberger. She provided them an overview of the Red Cross lines of service: Disaster Cycle Services, Service to the Armed Forces , Blood Services, and Training Services. The following day, the Red Cross attendees met with their individual legislators and provided them with an update on Red Cross operations in their districts. The information included detailed maps and statistics.

“I appreciate the opportunity to help develop collaboration with our elected officials to better serve our communities,” noted Chris Greagan, a member of the Northeastern New York Board of Directors.

Eastern New York Regional CEO, Kevin Coffey added, “We are so grateful for the partnership we share with our legislators across the state. Their commitment to improve the lives of their constituents aligns with the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Advocacy Day also provides the opportunity for each of the three regions to recognize legislators for their commitment to building more resilient communities.

Eastern New York recognized Sen. Michelle Hinchey as Legislator of the Year, for her steadfast commitment to provide lifesaving information to her constituents.

Senator Hinchey with Hudson Valley Executive Director John Vale and Eastern New York Regional CEO Kevin Coffey

Specifically, after an ice storm battered her district, Sen. Hinchey sponsored preparedness programs to help educate families about how to prepare for, respond to, and recovery from emergencies. In addition, she has supported programs for veterans and service members together with the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program.

Other 2023 Legislators of the Year are Assembly member Michaelle C. Solages; Sen. Shelley B. Mayer; Sen. James Sanders Jr., and Assembly member Philip A. Palmesano. 

Helping New York State Prepare for Disasters

Home fires are the most common type of disaster the Red Cross responds to throughout the country and in New York State. Last year alone, Disaster Action Team volunteers responded to 3,316 home fires across the state.

In 2014, the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign, installing free smoke alarms in homes and providing safety information. In Eastern New York, Red Cross volunteers and partners have Installed 37,600 free smoke alarms. Nationally, the program is credited with saving more than 1,580 lives in the U.S.., including 62 in our region.

Last year, dedicated Red Cross volunteers in New York provided more than 500,000 volunteer service hours. delivering safe shelter, hot meals, emotional support, and recovery resources to people in need. The Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes – mostly home fires but this can include many other emergency situations including flooding, snow and ice storms that cause extended power outages and all types of severe weather.

Ensuring a Safe and Adequate Blood Supply for All New Yorkers. Blood donations are essential to the health of our communities. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Red Cross is the primary blood supplier in New York, and we service more than 100 hospitals and cancer treatment centers.

When help can’t wait, our dedicated workforce – 90 percent volunteer – springs into action wherever and whenever people need us most. Throughout New York State, in flooded neighborhoods or under smoky skies, our work to alleviate human suffering never stops.

In 2022, the Red Cross responded to more than 3,300 disasters in New York State and assisted 7,591 people. Of those responses, 2,979 were home fires.

Additionally, the Red Cross:

  • Provided preparedness training to nearly 10,000 adults and 15,500 children
  • Supported more than 16,000 military members, veterans and their families
  • Hosted nearly 10,000 blood drives to collect over 222,000 units of blood
  • Taught First Aid, CPR, AED and Aquatics/Water Safety to more than 188,000 people

More than 8,200 volunteers donated over 500,000 hours of service to deliver hope and help every day.

“I found advocacy day to be very helpful and rewarding. It is extremely important that the Red Cross voice it’s needs to our elected officials,” said Gerald Deluca, State Relations Disaster Coordinator. “Every office we went to we were received positively.”

Our work in New York State is made possible by the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Find your local Red Cross chapter and see how you can get involved at redcross.org!

by Stephen Bogdan, Red Cross Content Creation Team Member & NYS Advocacy Day Volunteer