This National Volunteer Week, April 6 - 13, the American Red Cross of West Michigan is celebrating its volunteers and the work they do in the community to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.
2,878 volunteers serve with the West Michigan region. Nationally, the Red Cross has nearly 400,000 volunteers, which represent more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce.
“Our volunteers respond to house fires, teach lifesaving skills, support our military members in the community and much more,” said Sam Tidwell, CEO for the American Red Cross of West Michigan. “They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”
Across the organization, the Red Cross has an average of 14 volunteers for every one employee. According to the Independent Sector, the 2012 value of volunteer time is $22.14 per hour, further evidence of the tremendous value and impact volunteers hold for nonprofits such as the Red Cross.
Last year, volunteers with the Red Cross of West Michigan provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 908 local families who faced home fires and other disaster situations. They trained more than 18,000 people in lifesaving skills and provided 1,430 services to military members, veterans and their families.
They also helped collect 98,763 units of blood from donors in the state of Michigan. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day from volunteer blood donors to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
The Red Cross invites the public to sign up to volunteer and be a part of the lifesaving work it does. People can go to redcross.org/westmichigan to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. Those interested in hosting a blood drive or scheduling an appointment to give blood can visit redcrossblood.org.
People who might want to volunteer when a disaster strikes this community should download the Team Red Cross app. Through the free app, people can sign up to help, get an overview on basic tasks and receive notifications about local Red Cross volunteer opportunities.
The Team Red Cross App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at .