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Young Hands Get Hands-On Experience
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Mary Levis
May 17, 2007

On "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work" Day, many kids get to tag along to their mom’s or dad’s office and spend the day sitting in a chair. Two New Jersey boys had a very different experience last month when they worked side-by-side with their mother providing relief to victims of the mid-April nor’easter that dumped nearly 10 inches of rain on the state and caused severe flooding along the Passaic and Rockaway Rivers.

Assorted medals and badges from the Jane Delano Collection.
It was a special "Take Your Child to Work Day" for Christopher (right rear) and Matthew Sutton when they worked with their mom offering disaster relief to those affected by the April nor’easter that devastated New Jersey. Their mom, Amy Sutton, is the executive director of the Greater Somerset County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
(Photo Credit: Mary Levis)

Christopher and Matthew Sutton got hands-on experience assisting their mom, Amy, who serves as executive director of the Greater Somerset County Chapter, headquartered in Somerville. The nor’easter, which generated the largest Red Cross disaster response since the hurricane season of 2005, hit Somerset County especially hard.

American Red Cross disaster relief workers, along with chapter volunteers and staff, worked around the clock offering shelter, distributing meals and comfort kits, and providing damage assessment, casework and counseling to residents of the flood-stricken area. Christopher, 13, and Matthew, 10, pitched in by distributing supplies and clean-up kits and visiting shelters and service centers with their mother.

"It feels good to know that I can help people and that my mom is doing a great thing for people who need it, people who lost everything," Christopher said.

The boys' father has been running the house while Amy helps storm victims, and Christopher has learned to do some baking from his grandmother so he can give his mom a treat when she gets home. Both boys say they are very proud of the job their mom does.

"She's the only mom at school who operates a shelter," said Matthew. "She’s cool."

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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