Ways to help your community

Last week’s tragic event in Orlando left the nation reeling as one could only be shocked and saddened by the violence of the horrific shooting.  It seems every day the media fills our newsfeeds with devastating events, both natural and manmade, impacting one person to an entire town or even state.  As this information continues to overload us, human nature begs the question, what can I do?  How can I help?

The mission of the American Red Cross states that we “prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”  Volunteers are the heart of our organization. In fact over 90% of our workforce is comprised of volunteers.  They are the ones providing direct assistance to communities that need it.  We support the local community, county and state, in a variety of ways.

So how can you help?  One way… volunteer with the American Red Cross.

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on incidents throughout the country, you’ve seen that Texas has had historic flooding over the last few months.  It’s once again been pummeled with rain and subsequently more flooding; in fact emergency officials estimate 6,000 homes affected in this latest round.  The Red Cross is still there helping.  More than 400 Red Cross volunteers from all over the country are in Texas, operating and supporting 17 shelters, providing meals and helping to assess the damage and distributing relief supplies.  Red Cross mental health workers are helping people cope, as many have been hit with flood damage more than once.  Health workers are assisting with minor first aid needs and helping to replace things like lost medications and eyeglasses.

Soon after the Orlando shooting, the Red Cross was providing comfort where possible, including providing food, and water to first responders in the immediate aftermath and supporting a community vigil with refreshments, health services and behavioral health assistance.  Over the coming days, we’ll continue to provide support, determining how we can best support the community, working alongside our partners.

By becoming a Red Cross volunteer, you have an opportunity to not only help your community, but communities like yours throughout the country.  You’ll receive free disaster training to prepare yourself in activities, so when disasters strike, you can help.  Disaster Services is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to volunteer opportunities and ways to help.  Donating blood, providing presentations on preparing for disasters, supporting the Armed Forces and our Veterans, International Services such as tracing inquires, Health and Safety training (CPR/First Aid), or participating in events such as smoke alarm installation rallies, are a variety of ways our volunteers help.

Start small and grow.  As we multiply our workforce, we will be better equipped to prepare, respond and help communities recover.  Be the change in your community.  Deliver hope to those that need it.  Be a part of an organization whose vision of being there in a time of need, turning compassion into action, is met.

Interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer?  Visit www.redcross.org/volunteer

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