Record Year of Disasters Showcases the Importance of American Red Cross Volunteers
In a year filled with unprecedented disasters that have devastated communities across the United States, the American Red Cross has relied on its dedicated volunteers to provide critical support and aid. These volunteers, who make up 90% of the Red Cross workforce, have played a vital role in ensuring that families receive the care and hope they need in the face of increasingly frequent and intense disasters. The number of extreme weather and climate disasters causing losses exceeding $1 billion has risen by 80% over the past decade.
Throughout this challenging year, Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground, delivering shelter, food, emotional support, and financial assistance to families in need. During the holiday season, many volunteers are still actively responding to ongoing crises in hard-hit areas like Hawaii and Florida, where families remain displaced from their homes. They are also providing aid to those affected by home fires, which account for the majority of the 60,000-plus disasters the Red Cross responds to annually in the U.S.
Several heartwarming stories highlight the incredible impact that volunteers have had on individuals and families affected by this year’s disasters. Jae Basiliere, a resident of Johnson, Vermont, experienced the devastating effects of flash floods that forced him, his wife, a family friend, and their three dogs to seek refuge. Red Cross workers have been a constant presence in their community, providing assistance, support, and addressing their specific needs. Jae expressed his gratitude for the Red Cross, stating, “I think it’s been really valuable to our community to have that Red Cross presence here.”
Monique Bass, a survivor of a tornado that destroyed her home in Amory, Mississippi, also received life-changing help from Red Cross volunteers. Initially, Monique did not believe she would qualify for assistance, but after meeting with someone from the Red Cross, she received financial aid and support. The Red Cross covered the costs of her previous hotel stay and helped her find temporary shelter in a safe area close to her job. Monique expressed her gratitude, saying, “The Red Cross has been such a blessing! I was struggling, but they helped me. I’m safe, I’m fed, and I have met some amazing people. I’m so thankful.”
One volunteer, Joyce Cabildo, found herself on both sides of disaster when a wildfire destroyed her and her husband’s home in Medical Lake, Washington. Despite her own losses, Joyce continued to reach out to others affected by disasters, offering medical assistance and support. Working with disaster-affected patients and their doctors, Joyce helped replace destroyed medical equipment and refilled lost prescriptions. She emphasized her commitment to ensuring the well-being of those affected, saying, “I keep calling until I know the person is OK.”
The American Red Cross relies on the generosity of volunteers and donors to carry out its lifesaving mission. This holiday season, individuals are encouraged to turn their compassion into action by donating at redcross.org/gift or by registering to become a volunteer. Every contribution, regardless of size, makes a difference.
The stories shared highlight the incredible impact that Red Cross volunteers have made in response to the 2023 disasters. Their dedication and selflessness are instrumental in providing immediate relief and support to individuals and families affected by disasters, regardless of the cost. The American Red Cross expresses their gratitude to their Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder members, whose generous contributions help ensure that the organization is prepared to respond to disasters promptly and effectively.
Original Story at www.redcross.org – 2023-12-05 14:31:18