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Red Cross Provides Long-Term Assistance and Care for San Bruno Families
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By Melanie Finke, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter

November 15, 2010

Volunteer Gives Toy to Girl Affected by San Bruno Fire

San Bruno Long-Term Recovery Group

The San Bruno Long-Term Recovery Group is a coalition of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, businesses, labor and government agencies collaborating for the unified purpose of coordinating information and providing long term recovery resources to individuals, families, and the community affected by the 2010 Glenview Fire.

  • Thrive Alliance
  • American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
  • Church of the Highlands
  • City of San Bruno
  • County of San Mateo
  • North Penninsula Neighborhood Service Center
  • Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Salvation Army
  • San Francisco Foundation
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief

For the families who live in the Crestmoor neighborhood of San Bruno, nightmares from September's gas line explosion continue to haunt them.  Memories of the fiery night combined with the struggle of filing insurance claims, rebuilding and grieving for those lost, make the act of returning to normal life a challenge that remains nearly three months later.

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter has been supporting these families from the initial hours of the fire, providing essentials like shelter, food and much-needed hugs. Over the first month, the Red Cross met with and provided emergency assistance to more than 1,200 people -- replacing clothing and other lost items, helping with health needs, providing crisis counseling and offering assistance based on the individual needs of clients.

Most families have now returned home, but the need for support continues.

"Residents have continued to approach the Red Cross for additional assistance," said Marian Wilson-Sylvestre, American Red Cross long-term recovery manager for the San Bruno operation. "We're very focused on providing crisis counseling and access to other forms of medical care. We're also continuing to meet with families and provide them with additional assistance for their basic needs."

Long-Term Recovery Group 
The Red Cross is a leading member of the San Bruno Long-Term Recovery Group, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies who are tasked with identifying the needs and providing assistance in the coming months.

Together, the group has established a coordinated plan for supporting the affected families through their long-term recovery process. Every affected family will meet one-on-one with a caseworker from partner United Methodist Committee on Relief to develop a recovery plan for the next year. Each member of the coalition will then bring its unique services to meet the family's needs.

During the long-term recovery process, the Red Cross will continue to provide financial assistance for the recovery needs of residents, as well as supporting the entire program through our volunteer base and partners.

Mental Health Support Key Need
One of the greatest needs is for ongoing mental health support for the Crestmoor neighborhood. In addition to offering meetings with Red Cross volunteers who are licensed therapists, the Red Cross is also working on a new Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. The program will provide training to community groups, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations and other members of the community to assist affected community members to strengthen their ability to cope with stress, crisis and disaster.

Opportunity for Increased Community Preparedness
Disaster is always a reminder that there are steps that every community can take to be better prepared and resilient to disaster. As families are able to return to their homes and lives, the Red Cross will be working within the community to offer personal disaster preparedness training and to improve disaster response capabilities -- ensuring that the city will be able to provide the necessary support to its residents the next time disaster strikes.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free to affected residents, made possible by donations of time and money by people in the Bay Area. You can help people affected by home fires and other local disasters by becoming a volunteer or donating to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. Learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross or donate now online or by calling 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722).


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