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