National Volunteer Week: Red Cross recognizes crucial support of its volunteers

National Volunteer Week is April 17-23 and the American Red Cross Central California Region honors the work of its volunteers who give their time to help people in need.

Across the country, more than 300,000 Red Cross volunteers serve their communities by responding to thousands of disasters; supporting the collection of blood to help patients receive the critical care they need; aiding members of the military and their families; helping communities prepare for emergencies around the globe and much more.

Here in the Central California Region, more than 1,700 volunteers help their community. “National Volunteer Week is time to honor all of our volunteers for their constant service and support,” said Tony Briggs, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross of Central California.  “They are true heroes who give their time day and night to help their local community.”

Last year, Central California Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 849 local families who faced emergency situations. They helped make nearly 900 homes safer through our Home Fire Campaign, provided 5,100 services to military members, veterans and their families, and helped host 355 blood drives across the Pacific Coast.

The need for volunteers has never been greater as we experience larger and more intense disasters across the country. Please consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer to help families in need.

TOP 5 MOST NEEDED VOLUNTEER POSITIONS

1. Disaster Action Team: While big hurricanes and wildfires get the most news coverage, smaller disasters such as home fires are no less devastating to those affected. That’s why we need volunteers to help comfort and support local families in need by providing food, shelter, clothing or supplies, and connecting families to recovery assistance.

2. Shelter Support Team: During large disasters, these volunteers support the day-to-day activities such as welcoming and registering residents, helping with meal service, distributing cots, blankets and hygiene supplies, and providing information and other assistance within a shelter. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel, a commitment of at least 14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required.

3. Disaster Health Services Team: These volunteers use their professional skills as a licensed healthcare provider to deliver hands on care and education to shelter residents during a large disaster. Our free online training can count towards nursing continuing education units. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel, a commitment of at least 10-14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP, APRN. Only RNs have full scope of practice.

4. Resiliency Workshop Facilitator: Looking to put your mental health license to use when volunteering, or need continuing education? Help military members and their families by becoming a Resiliency Workshop Facilitator! Service to the Armed Forces Mental Health volunteers facilitate psychoeducational workshops to service members, veterans and families in order to support them facing the challenges and stressors of military life. If you are a Clinically Licensed Behavioral Health Practicioner, we invite you to join our team.

5. Blood Donor Ambassador (Ventura, Santa Barbara or Eastern Kern County): Just as disasters happen every day, the need for blood is constant. The Red Cross is also recruiting for critical volunteers to support our work to ensure hospital patients have access to safe, lifesaving blood. You can help save countless lives as a blood donor ambassador. These volunteers check blood donors into their appointments, answer questions and give out post donation snacks.

Training is free, but the hope you provide as a Red Cross volunteer to people in need is priceless. Turn tragedy into hope by donating your time and skills. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to get started today.

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