‘Red Cross Sucks’ For Hurricane Sandy Victims, Some Say…5 Other Places To Donate

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northeast, victims, officials and volunteers are still working tirelessly to bail themselves out–and some are just looking for the basic food, water, clothing and shelter. And while the American Red Cross is supposed to be in the thick of things and one of the largest organizations responsible for helping these people, not everyone agrees they are doing their job. In fact, some say they downright “suck.”

Thomas Donovan, a 43-year-old software salesman who has been helping victims for over a weeks says the Red Cross doesn’t know what they’re doing:

Red Cross sucks… I’m never giving them another dime.

He went on to say:

You don’t see them. They’re not here … they’re just not here.

Others on Twitter concurred:

@JudyScool tweeted:

I can tell you the Red Cross SUCKS in Staten Island SERIOUSLY. It’s disgusting. They get/take all the money but do NOTHING.

@Wiseolemama wrote:

That sucks :( and if I just give it to red cross here in CA there’s no guarantee it’ll get to Staten Island :/

And ‏@QueenBeam825 commented:

Red Cross sucks they had a room full of clothes and toys just seating there for days… I’m blessed I didn’t have to come to a shelter.

And James Molinari, president of the Staten Island borough called the organization’s response “an absolute disgrace” and even urged residents not to donate to the Red Cross anymore.

Of course, the Red Cross is fighting back and defending themselves calling their response “near flawless” according to Gail McGovern, chief executive officer and president of the Red Cross. She told NBC News:

I think that we are near flawless so far in this operation. I know that there are people who have absolutely lost everything, that are cold, that are frightened, that are saying, ‘Where is the American Red Cross?’ and I am totally supportive of that. I understand their cry for help, but we are out there.

She went on to explain that they are using social media to help victims who haven’t been reached yet:

We are looking at every single one of those cries for help, and we are moving people and supplies as quickly as we can.

They may be moving “as quickly as they can,” but is that good enough? And have they redeemed themselves from their lackluster response during Hurricane Katrina? Possibly not, says Charity Navigator’s president and CEO, Ken Berger:

For an organization of this size and scale that’s somewhat unique in its expertise and reach, that they may not always be as fast as we’d like, they may not always be as responsive as we’d like, but … we think they’re overall performance at this point is OK. There’s still this lingering sense since Katrina that Red Cross still has some work to do to redeem its reputation.

It would seem so, based on the responses of some residents. Although, to be fair, others have called their work “great.”

To date, the Red Cross has received over $117 million in donations for Hurricane Sandy relief. It’s troubling that so many people are not seeing the effects of that money. But, as with many large organizations, that’s often a byproduct of complicated structures, bureaucracy and policies. Certainly no one organization could come in and give immediate relief to the millions of people in need. But it’s also a major problem for someone like the Red Cross to continue to receive so many complaints about their lack of speed and efficiency–especially when they have millions of dollars to work with. Where exactly is the money we donated going?

Sometimes a smaller, local organization can get food and supplies out faster to those who need it most. If you want to support one of them, here are a few New York/New Jersey ones that are making a difference:

Staten Island Recovers

Occupy Sandy

Heal Hoboken

Rebuild Hoboken

New Jersey Relief Fund


Tell us what you think about the Red Cross.


Photo: realizedworth.com


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    • Fabel

      One of my friends was a volunteer going down to the shore (here in NJ) to deliver food & other essentials, & he said the residents have not seen Red Cross AT ALL. So there’s that. They’ve just been relying on good-hearted citizens to help.

    • Ramon S

      I cannot speak for how well the current relief efforts work out with the Red Cross and years back I used their services and I am thankful to this day that they were there when I needed help. So to help them with their current efforts I wanted to donate 25$. I used their online donation form. As is usual with even the dinkiest shopping cart on a web site of a mom & pop store I expected a confirmation page before finally submitting. Not so with the Red Cross, which would not have been that bad if it wasn’t for a glitch that turned the amount into 2500$ wiping out every penny I had in my account. I did request a refund online (because nobody answers the phone today at Red Cross HQ) and on that page they acknowledge “We are aware of technical issues that have impacted a small number of donors and are working quickly to resolve the issues.”
      There I want to do a good deed and now are in hot waters myself with pending bills. I went with a plan B that in the end will cost me money (and more than the donation), but at least gets the bills paid. Thanks, Red Cross web development team!
      I don’t hold a grudge against any of the volunteers or local chapters, but an organization where the CEO gets a high six figure salary should be technically up to date and not make helping the good cause become a nightmare that easily. I hope they add a summary confirmation page to their online donation form and explicitly asks if the donor is serious when the amount exceeds 100$.

      Come to think, since they put me into serious distress I might take a trip to their local office and ask for help. If I ever get the idea to donate to the Red Cross again I’ll mail them a check.

    • FormerRC’er

      As a former Red Cross volunteer who has served in disaster areas I can empathize with those who are suffering right now. The only thing I wish people would remember is that over 97% of the Red Cross is volunteer driven. Which means almost every single person you see out there is a volunteer who is giving their time for no other reason than human decency often at the expense of their own comfort and safety. They travel from all across the country, some driving relief vehicles from as far away as Washington state, they give up pay checks and vacation time, they stay in the same shelters as the victims of the storm, eat the same food, work 14 to 16 back breaking hours a day, all because they want to help. These volunteers do the best they can but they are not paid professionals and they simply can not be everywhere at once so while it is completely fair to question how the Red Cross and to choose to donate money to any group you choose, please don’t take it out on the hands on the ground!

    • pickle

      To repeat what another poster stated this is a volunteer driven charity and can only send the people they have, if they do not have enough volunteers then you may not see them. This is not a government agency and you are not entitled to their help. The red cross relief services help thousands of people every year not to mention blood services. If you are outraged the victims of sandy have not seen the red cross then volunteer.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J4SNUVVR3JOQZTYSOK2U4SUL5Y Soberkiss

      Think about these before you donate. As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good , please keep these facts in mind:
      *The American Red Cross
      President and CEO Marsha J. Evans salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses
      It is called the March of Dimes because only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.
      *The United Way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
      *UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE . Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
      *GOODWILL CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3million a year. Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business. You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT. He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy. $0.00 goes to help anyone!!! Stop giving to this man.

      Instead give it to SALVATION ARMY.


      *The Salvation Army Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
      *The American Legion
      National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
      *The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary . Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
      *The Disabled American Veterans National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary . Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
      *The Military Order of Purple Hearts
      National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary . Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
      *The Vietnam Veterans Association National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary . Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

      Please share this with everyone you can.

    • Disaster Dog

      The Red Cross started responding BEFORE the hurricane even struck, and will continue to respond far after everyone else has forgotten about Sandy. Right now, the Red Cross has over 5,800 (90% volunteers) from all over the country supporting shelters, providing food and water, and driving through neighborhoods to distribute meals and supplies.
      The Red Cross responds to a number of disaster DAILY, and relies on volunteers and donations in order to keep responding and helping humanity.
      Yes, the CEO does make a 6 number salery, however, the Red Cross is one of the top non-profits with the highest percentage of money that goes right back into the organization.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nellieirene.pierce Nellie Irene Pierce

      Don’t forget, Red Cross has over 30,000 regular employees who work tirelessly behind the scenes to get blood products, for saving your life if you ever need it. There is More to them than getting you a bottle of water and a blanket. They are mostly made up of people who do NOT GET PAID to help you at a disaster scene.