The American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region continues to respond to the ongoing drumbeat of disaster activity across California. In preparation for a busy fall ahead, the Red Cross is calling for volunteers to help us carry out our mission.

Specifically, volunteers are needed to work in disaster shelters supporting the day-to-day activities within a shelter, which can include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information or other areas within a shelter. Health services volunteers are also needed to address people’s health needs and provide hands-on care in alignment with their professional licensure (for example: registered nurse and licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse). We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.

Those interested in making a difference should contact their local chapter or begin their volunteer application at redcross.org/volunteer.

Prepping for fire season in California is a perfect time to give back to the community

A retired nurse, Deborah Towers joined the Red Cross in San Diego, Calif., four years ago. Since then, she has deployed to hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters, helping the injured and sick. She is currently volunteering in the Red Cross shelter for evacuees at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Nevada. Deborah can be found at the bedside of shelter residents with medical needs, checking in volunteer doctors at the medical staffing table or giving a job to a newly arrived volunteer nurse.

“It may be a volunteer position, but we are repaid in so many different ways,” Deborah said. “We get compliment after compliment about the love that we exude during an emergency. They feel so well-cared-for and so well-provided-for, that it’s just an amazing experience.”

Red Cross volunteers also play several other critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

Urgency in the magnitude and frequency of disasters

We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year. Here in our area over the last 12 months, we have responded to 1,342 disasters of all sizes, ranging from home fires to wildfires and severe weather events. As a result of these disasters, we provided shelter, meals, financial assistance, comfort and emotional support to 2,524 families.

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