Your time and talent can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. That’s 15 volunteers for every one employee.  Our vital work is only possible because of our amazing cadre of volunteers.

Nearly 400,000 individuals volunteered nationwide with the American Red Cross last year, but our volunteers aren’t just a number. Volunteers are the heart of the Red Cross, and we couldn’t fulfill our lifesaving mission without them.  Whether helping one displaced family or thousands, providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies, it’s through the efforts of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things.

Here in Eastern Pennsylvania we have over 3,800 volunteers throughout the 17 county region.  Volunteers with the American Red Cross can set flexible schedules in volunteer positions that appeal to their specific skills or interests.  The American Red Cross provides compassionate care in five critical areas with many opportunities within each department:

  • People affected by disasters
  • Support for members of the military, veterans and their families
  • Blood collection, processing and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development

In Eastern Pennsylvania, we responded to over 1,200 disasters last year.  We train and send volunteers to respond both locally and to help in national disaster relief efforts.  We help educate communities through preparedness presentations on how to prevent and prepare for emergencies.

The Red Cross responds to military families experiencing an immediate need by providing emergency communications, family follow up, access to financial assistance, and disaster services.  The American Red Cross serves the military community and military medical facilities including military and VA hospitals, VA outpatient clinics, military community health care clinics, Veteran Centers, Veteran Community Living Centers, and Veteran State Homes.

The Red Cross is one of the nation’s largest blood collection organizations.  We need more donor ambassadors, transportation specialists, and community outreach specialists.

Preparedness and Health and Safety Services is the prime provider of education on first aid, CPR, AED, aquatics, and water safety and we need instructors to help train the communities.

Beyond our core focus areas, there are opportunities in fundraising, special events, communications, writing and social media outreach, volunteer management, community outreach, office administration, and board member positions.

Our volunteers give their time and talent every day to the Red Cross because the Red Cross is needed every day.  By volunteering with the American Red Cross, you can truly make a difference in a variety of ways. Visit: to become a volunteer today.

Join us!

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Everything the American Red Cross does depends on the needs of the people that we serve and we could not be there without the generous support of the community.  Since being founded in 1881, the Red Cross has been a consistent lifeline for people when they need us the most. The depth and breadth of our services – whenever and wherever they’re called for – is unmatched by any organization, charity or non-profit in the world.  By supporting the Red Cross, you are there for hundreds of people who face emergencies in our region a year and help as they rebuild their lives.  Last year our region responded to over 1,200 disasters in which 5,500 people were given emergency assistance.  We installed over 6,400 smoke alarms making families in our community safer and educated over 7,800 elementary students in disaster preparedness through the Pillowcase Project.

Each year the American Red Cross in Eastern Pennsylvania conducts a number of signature events throughout the Eastern Pennsylvania Region that would not be possible without the generous support of our community and sponsors. We welcome you to come out in support of these events as money raised goes back into the many services we provide to the local community.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events from March 2017- June 2017:

March 5, 2017- Pocono Telethon:
March 23, 2017 – NEPA Centennial Celebration:
April 1, 2017 – Red Ball:
April 7, 2017 – Cabaret & Cuisine, Stayin’ Alive:
May 17, 2017- Clara Barton Awards Reception
May 20, 2017 – Celebration of Life SAF Walk
May 21, 2017 – Run for the Red Pocono Marathon:
June 1, 2017 – Citizen of the Year
June 19, 2017 – Red Cross Cup Golf Tournament
Visit our Heroes page to view all our Heroes events throughout the region at

Visit our events page to keep updated on each of our special events.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s more persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

As part of the MLK Day of Service, the Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region participated in a nationwide effort to install 15,000 smoke alarms in homes across the country.  The Red Cross held six smoke alarm installation events across our 17 county region, installing approximately 1,200 smoke alarms. It’s all part of the continuing Home Fire Campaign to make our communities safer and better prepared.

Red Cross volunteers, along with local fire departments and our community partners, went door-to-door to speak with residents and educate them on potential home fire hazards and risks. Fire safety information was provided in English and Spanish and residents received free smoke alarms installed in their homes.

Since 2015, the Eastern Pennsylvania Region, in partnership with local fire departments and community partners, have installed approximately 8,000 smoke alarms.

Take a moment to watch the MLK Day of Service Video.

Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter

Tri-County Chapter

NEPA Chapter

SEPA Chapter

Photo galleries of the events can be found here.

IMPACT OF HOME FIRES & RED CROSS RESPONSE:  Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire and on average 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent by 2020. Since 2014 the Home Fire Campaign has saved 116 lives nationwide.

Home fires remain the biggest disaster threat to individuals and families in the United States and the number one disaster the Red Cross responds to in America. This campaign is in direct response to that dire threat, with the Red Cross committed to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, and to educate those residents about fire prevention and preparedness.

HOME FIRE SAFETY, A FEW SIMPLE STEPS: Most home fires can be prevented. The Red Cross is asking everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarm and practice fire drills at home.

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of survival in a fire:

  1. If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them.  At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives and practice.
  2. If someone does have alarms, test them today.  If they don’t work, replace them.
  3. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and the home in less than two minutes.
  4. Practice the plan with home fire drills.  What’s the household’s escape time?  An individual only has two minutes.


To become a Red Cross volunteer please visit,

Seven times a day, someone dies in a home fire. Every 40 minutes, an injury from a fire is reported. Nearly 1,000 times every day, fire departments are called to home fires. Damage from US home fires is bigger than the entire annual sales of many Fortune 500 companies.

In an unprecedented effort to combine new technology and innovation with old-fashioned neighbor-to-neighbor outreach, the Red Cross will save lives, reduce injuries, and cut down on needless losses. In October 2014, the Red Cross began a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries in the United States by 25% within five years, through the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.

On Saturday, November 19, 2016 more than two dozen American Red Cross volunteers and several local community partners joined together for a Home Fire Campaign smoke alarm installation event in Wilkes-Barre, PA. In total 185 smoke alarms were installed that day, bringing the 2016 total to more than 4,000 smoke alarms installed in the four counties that make up the Northeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross.

On this day the importance of the program became readily apparent to all involved upon knocking on the very first door. Gregorio Perez answered that knock on the door and was asked by a Red Cross volunteer if he had any working smoke alarms. His answer was a simple “no” and he didn’t hesitate to let the volunteers in to install these potentially lifesaving smoke alarms. When asked why he didn’t have any smoke alarms, Perez only said that he hadn’t really thought about it.

American Red Cross local community partner John Catalano of Tobyhanna, PA talks with Wilkes-Barre, PA resident Gregorio Perez about a home fire escape plan for he and his family. 

Red Cross volunteers worked to install six alarms in the Perez home, one on each floor and one in each bedroom. Volunteers also discussed with Perez the importance of having a home fire escape plan. Perez was extremely grateful to the American Red Cross. This group of volunteers knows their work is important and now knows they may have saved lives that day.

American Red Cross local community partner Xavier Holcomb screws in a smoke alarm plate as Maxine Alexander readies the new 10-year smoke alarm. In the background, Red Cross volunteer Andrew Roth discusses the placement of new smoke alarms in the home with a resident. 

Last fiscal year alone, the region installed over 6,400 smoke alarms in homes spanning across our 17 county region.  We continue to work with community groups and welcome anyone that is interested in volunteering with the program.  Each chapter has scheduled events throughout the year and depends on volunteers and community partners.

For more information or if you are interested in volunteering visit: and click on the link to your local chapter.

Georgiann Teater was making a meatloaf dinner when she noticed smoke emerging from the back of her stove. Flames quickly followed, and she yelled to her family to flee outside.

After escaping, Teater immediately called 9-1-1. Firefighters arrived within minutes, but the damage to the first floor was severe enough to deem her Philadelphia home unlivable.

“I was so upset because this had never happened to me before,” said Teater, a grandmother.


Stranded outside on an October evening, she was grateful to have the support of American Red Cross Volunteers, who arrived to offer assistance for her family’s urgent needs. They helped provide a safe place to stay, food and clothing.

“The people here at the Red Cross are just absolutely fantastic,” Teater said. “They have treated my family with respect every step of the way. They just continue to go above and beyond the call of duty.”


Every Wednesday morning before dawn, Ruby Jackson arrives at the American Red Cross Tri-County Chapter office, in Reading, Berks County.  There she picks up a roster, a set of van keys, and starts out on a journey.

She carefully weaves her van along the narrow, winding city streets to arrive at the first stop.  She gets out to help an elderly gentleman board and assists him with his seat belt.  As she gets back into the driver’s seat, she looks in the rearview mirror and asks, “You ready?” With a nod from her rider, she’s off to the next address on her sheet.

Today there are only two passengers, but Ruby explains, “Sometimes every seat is full.”  She laughs when she says that on those days, it gets loud. She arrives at the destination and with care, helps her riders off the vehicle.  As they are walking away she reminds them, “I’ll be right here when you’re finished.”

Ruby, along with twelve other volunteers, ensure that veterans in the Berks County area have a ride to get to their medical appointments at the Lebanon VA Medical Center.  Many of the riders do not have transportation of their own and would have no way of getting to their needed appointments.

The service is provided five days a week and is free of charge.  In addition to providing a ride to a medical appointment, the time spent in travel provides veterans social time with others that understand them and can relate to their prior life experiences.

Any veteran who rides the program at least once during the year is eligible to receive a holiday food basket, given out in December.  Community members and organizations generously donate goods to be given out.

This program has been running in Berks County for 30 years.  They have a list of veteran’s over 450 and counting that rely on this needed service.

So who is Ruby Jackson?  Ruby, a veteran herself, has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for eleven years.  In addition to giving her time as a disaster volunteer, she was also active with the Meals on Wheels Program, and currently volunteers for the Berks County Red Cross Heroes event.  When asked why she does this, she replies, “The reason I volunteer for the Red Cross is to pay back.  I enjoy driving the vets because they are so worth it and so deserving. I am a vet also and to have that common denominator makes it easier to relate to each other.  It’s double rewarding. Serving our vets plus representing this wonderful organization, the Red Cross.”

Compassion, Collaboration, Creativity, and Commitment are values that are essential to the continued success of the American Red Cross. Thanks to Ruby and her fellow volunteers, these values are put into action daily for our country’s veterans.

Take a moment to watch a short video about the Access to Medical Needs Program:


Know of a Berks County veteran that needs help getting to their appointment at the VA Medical Center in Lebanon?  Call 610-375-4383 today.

Would you like to volunteer to drive veteran’s to their appointments or volunteer another way, helping the Service to Armed Forces programs?  Visit:




Dear Friends:

I hope that you have been staying cool during this horrific heatwave.  While we are dealing with deadly heat here in our region, Louisiana is facing an even more deadly crisis. Historic flooding continues to submerge vast swaths of southern Louisiana trapping thousands in their homes, requiring water rescues of over 20,000 people, and forcing thousands of others to evacuate. The Red Cross is there providing shelter for over 10,600 people in at least 50 shelters as of last night. The National Guard is also present with more than 1700 troops mobilized and more are on the way, more than 200 roads are closed, and at least 4 people have died as a result of these floods.  This is an AP aerial photo along the flooded Tangipahoa River near Amite, Louisiana, Aug. 13, 2016.

Lousiana Flooding

On Sunday night, the President declared a major disaster in Louisiana, specifically in the parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge and Livingston—we expect more to be added to the list. The Red Cross response: is now a Level 7 National Operation, which means we’re anticipating incremental costs to exceed $10 million.  We need your help to be able to help the people of Southern Louisiana.   Please consider making a donation to disaster relief and opening a micro site for your employees and team members to help support our response to this devastation.

Everyone’s help is needed to support the Red Cross response to this tragic flooding in Louisiana and to ensure that we can continue to respond to the critical work here at home helping our neighbors with home fires and other local disasters.  Should you be able to help people affected by disasters like floods in Louisiana and countless other crisis, you can make a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your generosity enables the Red Cross to respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

Thank you for your support and consideration.   Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes (Ret.)
Regional CEO
American Red Cross Eastern PA
2221 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103