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The American Red Cross New Jersey Region, together with state officials, is offering New Jersey resources in a Virtual Family Assistance Center launched to support families struggling with loss and grief due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Virtual Family Assistance Center offers connections to special virtual programs, information, referrals and services, and other national resources available to support families in need. People can access the hub's New Jersey page by visiting redcross.org/NJFVAC to connect with Red Cross volunteers who will help guide them through the resources available, including those provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) and other state and community partners. People without internet access can call 833-492-0094 for help.

"These are trying times for us all, but especially difficult for those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19," said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. "Not only have these families experienced the unexpected passing of a loved one, but they are also facing additional challenges caused by this public health emergency. We want them to know that there are compassionate people who wish to help them."

Many families have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process due to restrictions related to COVID-19. To help, the Red Cross New Jersey Region has set up a virtual team of specially-trained mental health, spiritual care, and health services volunteers who are:

  • Connecting with families over the phone to offer condolences, support and access to resources that may be available,
  • Providing support for virtual memorial services for families, including connecting with local faith-based community partners,
  • Sharing information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations including legal resources for estate, custody, immigration or other issues,
  • Connecting individuals with long-term crisis counseling, and
  • Hosting online classes to foster resilience and facilitate coping skills.

"We are pleased to be partnering with American Red Cross New Jersey Region on this important mission," New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. "We know this has been a difficult and challenging time for many New Jerseyans, especially those who have lost loved ones. I send my condolences to all who have lost someone close to them, but please know: we are here for you. I urge anyone who is grieving or needing some help to take advantage of the invaluable assistance available through this resource."

All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential and free.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:

The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,400 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to more than 820 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 2,150 displaced families; collected more than 94,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 7,230 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 114,570 people with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.org

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