When Steve Joffe retired a few years ago, his wife, Susan, inspired him to volunteer with the American Red Cross. She has been involved with the organization for years, helping individuals find information and documentation of their loved ones after separation during the Holocaust.
Joffe visited his local Red Cross chapter in Maryland to inquire if he could help out. The chapter asked him to serve in the "fire department" of Disaster Services. He wasn’t sure what to expect from this assignment, but was relieved to learn that he would be providing administrative support, instead of fighting the fires himself.
After fire fighters extinguish a home fire, Red Cross volunteers often provided emergency funds to purchase food, clothing and shelter for those affected. As a case manager, Joffe checks up on fire victims a month or so later to see how they are doing, and to see if they still need emergency funding. If funding is no longer needed, Joffe closes their case. He believes that even the smallest effort by volunteers, such as a greeting, can make a big difference to victims.
"I helped conduct a survey of the people who received funding from the Red Cross after a fire, and they (the victims) were overwhelming appreciative," Joffe said. "I admire my colleagues for their efforts to make a difference for the victims at this very difficult juncture. People are often beside themselves after a fire, and it is a very distressing time for all."
Recently, Joffe has expanded his volunteer efforts, delivering blood donated at blood drives to healthcare centers.
"I am very thankful to be part of a hard-working team. I enjoy my time with the Red Cross, and find it very rewarding to be part of such a giving organization," Joffe said.