Why I Serve – Ruth Townsend, Case Manager

as told to Gail Marshall, Public Affairs Volunteer

It was during April of 2020, with the pandemic in its second month, when I began to grow impatient with my new normal. I’m an active sports lover and world traveler, but ski season was over and borders were closing worldwide. My gym was closed, my card club halted, the book club went on hiatus, and my professional groups moved to Zoom. It was no longer safe to even meet up with friends and family as I did before on a regular basis.

Ruth Townsend of Fresno, case manager for the American Red Cross Central California, volunteers because helping others brings meaning to her life.

One day, while watching yet another TV show, I saw a Red Cross request for volunteers. The ad said the magic words, “Work from home.” I had been retired for a few years from a demanding career as a social worker, so that sounded ideal.

I knew after retirement that I would do some kind of volunteer work. I had always felt that I benefited as a person when I helped other people. The timing was good, a way to help ease suffering in disasters, while staying safe from the deadly and contagious COVID-19 virus.

Now it’s my job to comfort people when disaster strikes by finding transportation, housing, food, counseling, clothing, and household basics.

Lifelong learning and finding meaning in my life and work have always been priorities. I have acquired more problem-solving and crisis intervention skills, learned how cultural influences affect trauma response, and observed victims learning to survive disasters.

Volunteering with the Red Cross as a case manager contributes every day to giving meaning to my life.

Become a Volunteer

Your time and talent can make a real difference in people’s lives. Our need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as we navigate this health crisis. Volunteer opportunities include delivering much-needed services to your community, with a wide variety of remote (work-from-home) options available.

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