Red Cross offers opportunity to help our hurting neighbors

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

“Routine” emails arrive at the news desk several times a week with basic information about a house fire in Nebraska, the number of family members displaced by the fire, and how the American Red Cross has responded.

The events are anything but routine for those affected by the fire, of course, and the help provided by the organization is anything but basic.

And, there are many disasters and disruptions other than house fires, as last spring’s Nebraska flooding illustrates.

Organized, experienced, professional response is vital in such instances, and the American Red Cross has an urgent need for Disaster Action Team volunteers to deliver that help.

Each year, victims of nearly 64,000 disasters depend on the American Red Cross for immediate help, and more than 385,000 learn from Red Coss preparedness or education presentations.

You’re probably familiar with blood drives -- more than 13,000 blood donations are collected each day to meet the needs of patients across the country, and the Red Cross provides nearly 391,000 services to military members, veterans and their families.

Volunteers make all of this possible — 90 percent of work carried out by the Red Cross is done by volunteers, in fact.

DAT members arrive immediately after the home fire or other local disaster to provide compassionate care and comfort. They distribute relief supplies, provide client assistance for temporary lodging and other disaster-caused needs, and offer some health services, mental health services and spiritual care.

The lodging, food and supplies are welcome, of course, but the comfort and emotional support can make the most difference.

Disaster relief volunteers aren’t the only ones needed, however.

Volunteer opportunities include:

-- Providing food, shelter and comfort for those affected by a disaster.

-- Teaching a class / training

-- Assisting members of the military and their families.

-- Working at blood drives.

-- Assisting with volunteer recruitment, engagement and appreciation

--Supporting public relations, marketing and government relations.

-- Providing operational support such as answering phones or doing clerical work.

--- And many more.

Anyone who has volunteered for a worthy cause knows that it is rewarding and meaningful to be able to make a difference in the community by using their skills, knowledge and experiences while creating more.

To volunteer or find out more, email KSNESWI.volserve@redcross.org, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 402-441-6397.

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