FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – First Niagara Financial Group announced Tuesday the donation of $100,000 to the American Red Cross in support of its Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts.

The money will be distributed for use by residents in areas hard hit by the storm in Fairfield County, Westchester County, N.Y. and Pennsylvania.

The money will help the Red Cross continue to provide food, shelter and basic services to victims of the storm. First Niagara also has established a bank-wide Red Cross donation account that customers can deposit money into at their local branches.

First Niagara also has established the “YouFirst Neighbor” loan program for customers who were hit by Hurricane Sandy. The program allows home owners quick access to unsecured, low-interest home improvement loans. To date, the amount to be distributed is $393,000, but that number is likely to increase.

First Niagara Bank has 14 branches throughout Fairfield County, including in Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Ridgefield and Wilton.

“As a former board member of my local American Red Cross chapter, I have witnessed the tremendous efforts of this organization and its volunteers. Well before a disaster touches down in a community, and long after that community is back on its feet, the Red Cross is there,” said First Niagara Regional President David Ring.