Written by John O’Brien Friday, 30 November 2012 00:00
Since Thursday, Nov. 1, Holy Family School was used as home for Red Cross volunteers, who came from places like Texas, Louisiana, and Michigan, the Carolinas, Florida and even as far as Washington and Alaska. The call for the Red Cross Emergency Specialists went out nationwide and they responded. Often, they are the first ones reporting to disasters. They help local authorities and then set up their own facilities.
But before arriving here on Long Island to help your neighborhood, this amazing organization needed room to set up a home base. Holy Family in Hicksville was a large enough area to house some of the hundreds of volunteers being requested along with their trucks, cars and equipment.
The Red Cross is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization, providing emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. From their home base at Holy Family, they received their daily assignments to go out into the neighborhood and help with the relief efforts here on Long Island.
As the Holy Family School strives to teach these very same values to their students, housing the Red Cross volunteer workers was a perfect match. It was a place for the workers to regroup and rest up then get their assignments for the next day.
“I must say an enormous thank you to the many of you who have reached out in support these past weeks. I am keenly aware, as I join many of you in dealing with issues of no heat, no lights, no gas and so on, and yet, you have taken the time to reach out to me and more importantly you have reached out to the amazing Red Cross volunteers using our gym as their Long Island home,” Holy Family School Principal Maryalice Doherty said in a statement.
The Holy Family Church, throughout this emergency, remained open until 9 p.m. The first night they offered hot drinks during the blackout. Then as the true scope of this emergency was realized, on the second night they operated as a charging station for cell phones, a warming center for those without utilities and showed movies for families. Volunteers started serving an evening meal at one point as well.
The small, local parish school has proven to be an invaluable asset, not only to the local community but to all in all the surrounding areas like Long Beach, Oceanside, Island Park, Coney Island and any who needed the Red Cross to help immediately.
“I have never been so humbled nor have I ever felt so proud to be part of this great Holy Family School family,” Holy Family School Principal Maryalice Doherty said.