As a lawyer, Jonathan Goldfield of Haverhill gets paid to get people out of tough situations.
But in his spare time, Goldfield helps people in a completely different way.
Goldfield has volunteered for the American Red Cross since 1977, helping relief efforts in fires, floods and other natural disasters. He has primarily worked in this region, but recently was deployed to the New York metro area, where he is helping lead the relief efforts for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
“We are going to help them so that their life is not horrible,” Goldfiled said. “We try to improve it immediately and make sure they are clothed, housed and set. We take care of all human needs and also pets that are displaced. We make sure they know where to get help.”
Goldfield spent part of last week at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y., helping transform a gymnasium into a shelter. When he got to the area at the beginning of last week, the two-floor gym was strictly a dormitory for people who lost their homes to the storm. Goldfield has been working on converting one floor of the gym to an area used to distribute food and recreational items such as books, toys and televisions.
He is also responsible for setting up a system which organizes the way volunteers get to and from the shelters. All of the volunteers sleep off-site and Goldfield is setting up an efficient way to move everyone to their work locations during their stay.
More than 13,000 disaster workers from across the country have come to the New York area to help in the relief efforts. Nearly 2,000 people are still homeless and have been living in shelters for the past month. Volunteers have served more than 7 million meals and have handed out more than 5 million relief items.