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Terry Bischoff, CEO, American Red Cross in Greater New York (left) and Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York

The American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) and the Food Bank For New York City signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on December 2nd designed to formalize and strengthen their relationship. This agreement provides a framework for cooperation between the two organizations for food, water, personnel, equipment and/or information in support of disaster relief operations.

“The American Red Cross in Greater New York is pleased to expand our mutually beneficial relationship with the Food Bank For New York City. This partnership enhances the ability of both organizations to better service the community relative to disaster preparedness and the coordination of disaster planning and response activities,” said ARC/GNY CEO Terry Bischoff. “The collaboration increases our efficiency to help New Yorkers when they need it most.”

The MOU focuses on three key areas of disaster preparedness and response––planning and operations, training and educational opportunities and public affairs:

Planning and Operations Both organizations have agreed to collaborate in the acquisition and distribution of food and non-food supplies needed for a disaster response operation. Red Cross-trained kitchen staff will be allowed to utilize the kitchen space at the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem for food preparation during a localized disaster. At the close of an operation, remaining food products will be offered to the Food Bank or the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Pantry of West Harlem.

Training and Educational Opportunities The Red Cross and the Food Bank will establish cross-training opportunities for employees and volunteers of both organizations, with ARC/GNY providing disaster-related training and the Food Bank providing training in warehousing and other logistical activities as well as training at its community kitchen.

Public Affairs Both organizations will collaborate to keep the public informed of their cooperative efforts during a disaster relief operation.

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In this season of hope and giving the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes, Inc. have joined forces to invite Americans to “send a touch of home” to United States service members and veterans across the country and abroad. In its third year, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program is an opportunity to share joy and thanks with our service members throughout the holiday season by way of a greeting card.

Today over 1.4 million men and women serve in the U.S. armed forces and over 24 million veterans have served in the past. The holiday season is the perfect time to honor and extend a warm holiday greeting to those who’ve served and continue to do so.
How Holiday Mail works

We have established an extensive process to ensure all cards sent to our service members are safe and arrive in time for the holidays. Holiday cards will be collected through a unique P.O. Box address from Monday, November 2 through Monday, December 7*.

First, cards from across the nation must be sent to this address:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and distributed to participating Red Cross chapters nationwide. Once the cards arrive at the Red Cross chapters, they are sorted and reviewed by volunteers who then distribute them to service members, their families and veterans in communities across the country.

Please don’t forget to follow these guidelines while preparing your holiday greetings!


* Sign all cards
* Entitle cards “Dear Service Member, Family or Veteran”
* Limit cards to 15 per person or 50 for school class or business group
* Bundle groups of cards in single, large envelopes


* Send letters
* Include personal information such as home or email addresses
* Use glitter – excessive amounts can aggravate health issues of wounded recipients
* Include inserts of any kind as they must be removed in the screening process

Learn more about the American Red Cross in Greater New York’s Service to the Armed Forces.

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New York Chapter Goes the Distance with New York Road Runners (NYRR) Partnership and Team Red Cross

Left to Right: Rajeev Bhavasar, Terry Bischoff, Patrick Durkin, Veronica Roca, Michael Curtin, Matthew Baron, Victor Martinez, Neal Gorman (Photo: Maryellen Novak)

Proudly sporting the Red Cross logo across their backs, 11 Team Red Cross runners from the American Red Cross in Greater New York––for the first time ever—crossed the finish line with the 42,000 runners who ran in Sunday’s 40th ING New York City Marathon. Each of the Team Red Cross runners pledged to raise or donate at least $2,500 to support the Chapter’s vital work––helping New Yorkers prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Team Red Cross made great strides in far surpassing their goal, raising $112,000 to date, and the number is still rising!

Team Red Cross was led by CEO and first-time marathon runner Terry Bischoff. “This is such a special day,” said Terry after crossing the finish line. “It is a day to celebrate many ‘firsts’ for the Red Cross in Greater New York––our first time supporting the New York Road Runners in this world-class event with almost 300 Red Crossers, a combination of volunteers and employees, assisting NYRR’s medical team, the first time we assembled a team of runners who ran to raise much-needed funds in support of our Red Cross and my first marathon.” Other first-time runners on Team Red Cross included Ernesto Duran, a native of Columbia who is a member of ARC/GNY’s Young Professionals Committee and Mike Curtin, whose first contact with the Red Cross came when the organization’s Services to the Armed Forces unit arranged for his return from Somalia to attend his father’s funeral. Red Cross board member Patrick Durkin and Mary Pang from the Chapter’s Tiffany Circle also crossed the finish line as part of Team Red Cross. Other Team Red Crossers included Matthew Baron, David Eastman, Neal Gorman, Victor Martinez, Rajeev Bhavsar and Veronica Roca.

Team Red Cross enjoyed a pre-race team dinner on Friday night generously hosted by the owners of the scenic Water Club located on the East River of Manhattan. There, the team celebrated meeting their training and fundraising goals, exchanged thoughts on race day strategies and heard words of thanks and encouragement from CEO Terry Bischoff. On race day the Team was supported by many Red Cross fans and colleagues along the 26.2 mile route who cheered them on from start to finish. They were able to ward off the early morning chill before the “cannon” sounded in black windbreakers, which along with their white t-shirts, were donated by Paragon Sports in Manhattan.

While Team Red Cross covered the 26.2 mile course through all five New York City boroughs, almost 300 other Red Cross volunteers and employees assisted NYRR’s medical professionals. Approximately 250 of these first-aid trained workers, donning Red Cross caps and NYRR vests, worked the post-finish line spotter program, assisting runners with information, direction, and medical assistance. Additionally, 35 of our licensed medical professionals, under the authority of ING New York City Marathon Medical Director Stuart B. Weiss, responded to calls where there was a need for more advanced medical evaluation, and assisted with the transport of such runners in acute distress to medical tents for further evaluation and treatment by NYRR.

In addition to having a presence in all three medical tents where Red Cross volunteer physicians and nurses were available to support NYRR’s medical team, the NY Chapter also had a seat in the Joint Operation Center, the central medical command post for the race overseen by Dr.Weiss. Chris Mercado, American Red Cross in Greater New York Director of Disaster Health Services, said, “It was gratifying to see that our trained volunteers, including our team of licensed medical professionals, were there to support the world-class medical services of NYRR in this amazing event.”

“We are very proud of our ING New York City marathon firsts, and thank all who contributed in making this a world-class ‘first’ for our chapter––NYRR for inviting us to participate, our dedicated volunteers and employees, Team Red Cross, the Water Club and Paragon Sports. Thank you all for your continued support of our Red Cross,” said Terry Bischoff. “See you all next year for ING NYC Marathon #41!”
The marathon is over, but you you can still support the Red Cross team by making a donation here.

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Six Red Cross responders who arrived on the scene of a fire at a senior apartment complex at 66 N. Debaun Avenue in Airmont, New York at 1:45 a.m., arranged for temporary overnight housing at a local hotel for 19 residents displaced by the fire. They also provided 9 people with emergency assistance for food. The fire, which was confined to the first floor apartment where it began, was said to be started by a cat that knocked over some candles.

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The American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) will be participating in the 40th ING New York City Marathon for the first time with a team comprised of 15 runners led by the Chapter’s CEO and first-time marathon runner Theresa Bischoff.  Team Red Cross has pledged to raise at least $50,000 to support the vital work of the American Red Cross in Greater New York––helping New Yorkers prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Mike Curtin, 36, of Brewster, NY joined Team Red Cross for several reasons––to thank the Red Cross for supporting him in his time of need and to fulfill one of his personal goals.  In 1995 when Mike, a then 23 year-old soldier serving in the US Army at Fort Bragg, NC, was about to be deployed to Somalia, his father died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack.   As her son was not granted leave nor could he afford the trip home to be with his loved ones, his mother called the local Red Cross Chapter to get help.  The Services to the Armed Forces unit of the Red Cross was immediately there––Mike was escorted to the airport, put on a plane back to New York for his father’s funeral in a matter of hours and picked up on the other end to ensure that he was properly reunited with his family.

Mike decided that it was time to give back when he heard about Team Red Cross’ November 1st foray into the ING New York City Marathon 2009.  He became a runner about 2 years ago to drop some weight, felt this was his year to go the distance, and knew he wanted to run his first marathon as a “Red Crosser.” “Red Cross and running saved my life,” said Mike Curtin.  “When I needed help the most, the Red Cross was there. This is my way of giving back.”

Mike runs 8 – 10 miles a day, 5 days a week and another 18 – 20 miles a day on the weekends training for the marathon. In order to run on Sunday, November 1, Mike has pledged to raise at least $2,500 for the American Red Cross in Greater New York.  He has raised $2,150 so far, and is committed to meeting or surpassing his financial goal before he crosses the finish line in this year’s marathon.

To support Mike, or for more information about the Red Cross marathon team visit www.nyredcross.org.

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During a disaster, children may feel ill at ease in a shelter. Their daily routine is disrupted. The Red Cross has special help for children during this traumatic time, such as special areas for families to sleep, and space in the shelter for family interaction and child care.

During the ongoing relief effort in American Samoa, the Red Cross and Save the Children worked together to set up a play area in the convention center where families lined up to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. Special supplies were sent in, including diapers, baby formula, dolls and school supplies. Red Cross mental health and spiritual care specialists helped children deal with the loss of family members and classmates.

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“Our Buddha is the symbol who cares for the world, regardless of religion, sex or age,” said Yuru Chou, an American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) volunteer and an employee at the non-profit, volunteer-based Tzu Chi Foundation, located in Flushing, New York.

Yuru was explaining the philosophy and mission of the Foundation, which was created in the wake of a devastating typhoon that struck Taiwan in July 1966. Today, Tzu Chi is an international organization with more than five million supporters worldwide. Its Queens-area volunteers number approximately 300.

Community-based Response

While many Buddhist societies are devoted to personal enlightenment and meditation, Tzu Chi focuses on community service and outreach; specifically, case management, medical, educational and disaster relief.

Its mission is closely aligned with that of the Red Cross. That’s why Yuru, secretary to George Chang, Executive Director of the Tzu Chi Foundation USA, was drawn to ARC/GNY in 2006, after meeting a Red Cross volunteer at an interfaith disaster gathering. She and the volunteer discussed how the Greater New York Chapter and Tzu Chi might work together to benefit the community.

That summer, 25 Tzu Chi members became disaster-trained as part of ARC/GNY’s Ready When the Time Comes program, which instructs volunteer teams from local companies and community groups in Red Cross disaster relief. Yuru and Tzu Chi volunteer Ray Chen went on to become members of ARC/GNY–Queens’ Monday night Disaster Action Team.

An Ongoing Partnership

Since 2006, the Foundation has worked closely with ARC/GNY on numerous community relief efforts:

  • After the August 2007 tornado that devastated parts of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, five Tzu Chi volunteers helped ARC/GNY personnel communicate with affected residents, the majority of whom were Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.
  • In March 2008, more than 20 Tzu Chi volunteers assisted with the Chapter’s crane collapse relief effort.
  • In February 2009, when more than 100 people—many of them non-English speakers—were displaced from 22 James Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown by a 5-alarm fire, 10 Tzu Chi volunteers translated for ARC/GNY caseworkers and provided 200 lunch boxes at the Red Cross service center.
  • Three months later, in August 2009, three Tzu Chi volunteers came to Greater New York Chapter headquarters to translate for Mandarin-speaking residents displaced by a vacate order for 128 Hester Street, a run-down Chinatown tenement. Three volunteers were also at the scene to help with translation. “We helped people get information from the Red Cross about community resources,” said Tzu Chi volunteer William Liu of his work with ARC/GNY in August. “We like the Red Cross because it’s on the front lines of disaster relief.”

Preparedness Efforts

Tzu Chi also holds Red Cross CPR classes at its Flushing office. “Two of our RNs are Red Cross-certified instructors; they teach CPR in Mandarin,” said Yuru. “People need to prepare for emergencies beforehand,” she added. “We try to publicize the need to be prepared. By working together with the Red Cross, we hope to increase the level of preparedness and serve more of the community. Taking time to care for the community is not a burden for daily life—it’s good karma for you and your family.”


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With cases of H1N1 on the rise, hugs, high-fives, even air-kisses are about to go the way of the dodo. Just like seasonal flu, the swine flu is contagious, and, according to the CDC, is thought to spread mainly person-to-person.

Getting into a routine of some other basic habits can help you stave off the H1N1 flu andthe seasonal flu, and allow you to stay healthy and happy this fall and winter.

One of the simplest things you can do is to wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t happen to have access to a sink, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also effective in keeping your hands germ-free.

It is also important to remember to cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and throw it away immediately after using it. If you don’t have a tissue on hand, sneeze or cough into your elbow. By avoiding your hands, you help prevent spreading your germs to the next person. Speaking of hands, keep yours away from your eyes, nose or mouth to keep germs out.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If someone near you has a case of the sniffles, it’s best to stay away. The New York State Department of Health advises people to avoid close contact—within six feet—with people who cough, sneeze or show other signs of infection. On the other hand, if you’re the one feeling under the weather, try to minimize your contact with others (and possibly infecting them) by staying home from work or school.

There is also the tried-and-true method of avoiding illness by maintaining good general health practices: get sufficient sleep (the experts recommend between 7–8 hours each day), be physically active, manage your stress level, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a healthy diet (remember your fruits and veggies).

These tips will not only help prevent you from getting the swine flu, but most other seasonal illnesses as well.

The American Red Cross in Greater New York offers a range of products and training to help individuals and corporations prepare for a pandemic flu outbreak and keep you and your loved ones healthy. Read our FAQs to learn more about H1N1. To find out about preparedness training programs for companies or organizations, please contact Jim Parker, in Health & Safety Services at parkerj@nyredcross.org.

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“A shoulder to lean on from a caring volunteer, a Red Cross personal hygiene kit containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, a washcloth, deodorant, a comb—these little things make an enormous difference to people who have just lost everything,” said Terry Bischoff, CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY). “These things give people hope when all hope seems to be gone.”
Ms. Bischoff was addressing the almost 60 business leaders and community members who attended an Open House hosted by ARC/GNY–Queens on September 30 at the Sheraton La Guardia East hotel in Flushing. The event was an opportunity for attendees to learn about the humanitarian work of the Red Cross in their borough, and how they might engage with the Greater New York Chapter to help their neighbors in Queens when they need it most.

Tina Lee, publisher of the World Journal newspaper and Chair of the ARC/GNY Queens Board of Advisors, opened the event by discussing how the Red Cross has responded to more than 424 fires and building collapses in Queens since January, assisting almost 2,000 adults and children with food, water, blankets, and health and mental-health services—right at the scene of a disaster.

Another speaker, Yuru Chou of the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation USA, explained how Tzu Chi has partnered with the New York chapter, providing meals and language translation for Chinese-speaking residents in Red Cross reception centers and shelters, and teaching CPR and first aid classes in Mandarin.

“The evening was a wonderful opportunity to have community members see the numerous ways in which the Red Cross carries out our mission of helping New Yorkers affected by emergencies and disasters,” said Sonia Martinez, ARC/GNY-Queens Director. “We look forward to having tonight’s attendees become more involved with our organization.”

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