NY Red Cross Overwhelmed by Offers of Technical Help

A volunteer at the NYC-branch of the Red Cross told today that the office has been "flooded" with offers of both computer equipment and technical assistance.

"I think we have everything we need.....I'm not sure -- we're just trying to sort through it all," said the volunteer.

The office's original call for help went out Wed. on technical sites such as Wired and Tech TV. Joe Leo, assistant director of the American Red Cross in New York, asked IT professionals to call or e-mail their offers of computer equipment as well as technical expertise. At the time, Leo expressed a specific need for Microsoft and Citrix-certified experts.

Today, Leo's voicemailbox is too full to accept messages, and those e-mailing Leo receive the following automated response:

"I am not able to check email with any regularity at this time. Please forgive any delays in responding to you. If you are responding to the request for assistance after the World Trade Center disaster, thank you! The support that we have received from the national IT community has been overwhelming. We received over a thousand offers of assistance and equipment in less than twenty-four hours! What we thought would be sent to five or six people has made it from sea to shining sea, awesome is the power of the internet. What we really need MOST at the moment is time... time to sort through what has been offered and to reassess our needs. Please forgive us if we can't respond right away and please don't forward our message at this time. I don't know how else to thank you all for your compassion and generosity but I feel privileged to be part of the I.T. community, a community in every sense of the word."

Because needs can change, however, CertCities and were told that the organization is still accepting offers of equipment and services. All such offers are being compiled into a database so that they can be matched with needs that may come up over the next few weeks or longer. However, "the real need right now is for financial assistance," the volunteer said. Those interested in donating money can do so online or call 212-815-2460.

If you do have a specific offer of technical equipment or services, it is requested that you no longer call or e-mail. Instead, the Red Cross is now accepting those offers by fax. We were asked not to publish the fax number here for fear of it too being inundated. Instead, you can e-mail your offers to The editors will compile them and send a single fax. In your e-mail, please be as specific as possible with your offer and include all contact information.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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