The American Red Cross has a long history of providing service to members of America's military and their families, starting with Clara Barton's compassionate services during the Civil War.
Beginning in February, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region will continue that tradition by launching a new program at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center. Red Cross volunteers will help brighten the day of patients by visiting with them and distributing basic toiletries, books and other items to help make their hospital stays more comfortable.
You can participate in two ways: by volunteering and/or donating items to be distributed.
Those who are interested in volunteering need to: be Red Cross volunteers (or become Red Cross volunteers); be available for at least four hours a week (one full shift); commit to the assignment for one year (volunteers can choose from at least one to three weekday morning shifts); and successfully undergo a background check and registration at the West LA VA. Volunteers will receive a lunch ticket that can be redeemed at the hospital’s cafeteria following their shift(s)!
Donations of goods - toiletries, clothing, bedding, stationery and entertainment items - for distribution to veterans can be made at the Red Cross Los Angeles Region headquarters at 11355 Ohio Ave. in West Los Angeles (on the VA campus). Toiletries, clothing, bedding and stationery should be new, while entertainment items can be slightly used but in good condition. These items include:
● Toiletries: deodorant, hair combs and brushes, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, Chapstick, dental floss, denture adhesive and cleaner, tissue napkin packs, mouthwash, body powder, shaving cream, shaving razor, nail clippers, emery boards, back scratchers, sewing kits;
● Clothing: knit hats, scarves or gloves, shower shoes, sweatshirts and sweatpants, undershirts, underwear (for men and women), socks, flip flop sandals;
● Bedding: blankets, lap cover
● Stationery: pens, pencils, greeting cards, notepads and blank writing paper; and
● Entertainment: books, magazines, backpacks, playing cards, puzzle books.
“The Los Angeles Region Red Cross is excited to offer this service at the West LA VA for those who sacrificed so much for the benefit of all of us,” said Svetlana Fusekova, manager, International Services and Service to the Armed Forces. “The need is great, and there is never enough we can give back to those who served us.”
Fusekova said the program is modeled after a successful one coordinated by the Red Cross Greater Long Beach Chapter at the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center, which has been active for the past two decades.
For questions related to the program or to donate items (including large quantities of items), please contact Svetlana Fusekova at Svetlana.Fusekova@redcross.org or Kerry Khan at Kerry.Khan3@redcross.org.