Being the Volunteer Coordinator for the Kern Chapter of the American Red Cross has been an experience that I am sure no other person in this position at any other organization can understand, though I hope they get the opportunity. It can be difficult when someone calls and simply states, “I would like to volunteer.” With volunteers constituting about 95 percent of the entire Red Cross workforce and offering so many amazing services, it is important we assign volunteers to a job/duty that matches the skills they possess with something they will truly enjoy being a part of.
Although every volunteer is equally as important, Disaster Services volunteers and Disaster Action Team (DAT) members are without a doubt some of the most dedicated. Disaster response tends to be what the Red Cross is most recognized for, having responded to major disasters around the country and world. It is also important that we share the vast response we do locally. Most commonly we receive calls from clients whose homes have tragically been devastated by a fire. On average, our team responds to disasters from Merced to Bakersfield and Yosemite to the Grape Vine every 16 hours. We cover 7 counties in the Central Valley - Merced, Madera, Mariposa, Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern and a population of 2.8 million people. The funds used to supply food, shelter and clothing for each of these incidents comes from the generosity of donors.
Being a disaster volunteer requires one being available at a moment’s notice. This also means that calls can come in at 3am. We are always able to assemble a team of at least 3 volunteers for every call. It definitely takes the strongest, most devoted and enthusiastic volunteers to aid in this mission service and we, as well as the ones they help are thankful for them every single day.
Help turn heartbreak into hope by becoming a volunteer with your local chapter today! www.redcross.org/centralvalleyregion