An early morning apartment fire at 423 Spring Street in St. Johnsbury, VT highlights the cruel reality that disaster knows no holiday. Thankfully, neither does the generosity of first responders and Red Cross volunteers who came to the aid of the displaced residents early this Mother’s Day morning.
Mother’s day for residents of this apartment building started with an evacuation, displacing several. With multiple fire departments on scene and an early indication that the fire would severely impact those living in the building, the call went out to the Red Cross asking for help. Volunteers with the Caledonia County Disaster Action Team, who have experienced an extraordinarily busy month, answered that call.
In the end, the emergency needs of residents from two of the units were addressed by Red Cross volunteers. For one family of three, two adults and a child, financial support was provided to help with food and clothing lost to the blaze. For a family of two adults in a second apartment, in addition to assistance for food and clothing, temporary lodging was arranged. Red Cross volunteers not only addressed the needs of the families, but they also extended a helping hand to first responders in the form of food and hydration as they combatted the fire.
The work of Red Cross volunteers, like that of the dedicated fire fighters and other first responders who respond during times of disaster, knows no holiday. On Mother’s Day, like the other 364 days of the year, they each stand at the ready to help their neighbors during time of great need.
As an organization whose disaster services workforce is more than 90% volunteer, building and maintaining a strong corps of volunteers is of paramount importance to the American Red Cross. Without our volunteers, we could not convert the generosity of our donors into action and support for those in need in the wake of disasters.
No prior experience is necessary to be a Red Cross volunteer. All the training that is needed is free and will be provided. To learn more about the Red Cross volunteer experience, go to www.redcross.org/vermont or contact Angela Russell at 802-660-9130, ext. 107.
To help people affected by fires as well as devastating natural disasters, a donation can be made to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit redcross.org/vermont, call 802-660-9130, text REDCROSS to 90999, ext. 111, or mail your contribution to American Red Cross, 29 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.