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The Work We Do

The Red Cross - The Work We Do
Remember that's what we do. When you need us, the Red Cross is there.

On June 6, there was a big apartment fire in Dennis Port with 16 units affected and more than 30 people displaced. The Red Cross was there to help the victims of this terrible fire. We put people into hotels, gave them money for food and clothing and over the past several weeks helped them find alternative housing and referred them to other agencies in our community that helped them get back on their feet.

You may have read about our work on that fire response in this paper. In fact, our volunteers were honored with other responders at a recent Dennis selectmen's meeting. It always makes me feel good when our volunteers are recognized for the amazing work they do in our community.

But did you know we also support the first responders? As the firefighters are battling the blaze, we are making sure that they have food and water to keep them hydrated and as comfortable as possible. For example, our volunteers were called to the five-alarm fire at the waste disposal site in Sandwich, not because there were victims that needed our help but because more than 100 firefighters were there over 12 hours battling the blaze. Seven of our volunteers were there with water, Powerade, coffee, pizza and snacks. Our volunteers served 285 meals and 656 snacks, including water and coffee.

You didn't read much about our efforts at this fire because it is not well known that this is part of what we do. But ask any firefighter and they'll tell you we are there when they need us.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and does not receive federal funding, though we are chartered by Congress to provide these services in times of disaster. We are part of the statewide region, but our chapter is responsible for raising adequate funds to support all activities, including recruitment and training of volunteers, providing relief to victims of local disasters and teaching life-saving skills.

It is important that we get our story out to our community as often as possible so we can continue to support fire and other disaster victims, support the members of our military with emergency messaging, education and training pre-deployment. We also provide reconnection workshops, supporting our veterans whether they are in the hospital or homeless.

Our blood drives help provide 40 percent of our nation's blood supply, including our local hospitals here on the Cape and Islands.

All this and more is why we need your support. When you read about a two-alarm fire, remember our Red Cross volunteers are out there giving care and comfort to all those affected. When you hear about a regional shelter opening up due to a hurricane or winter storm, remember that Red Cross volunteers are helping to staff those shelters. Remember when you need blood, the Red Cross provides blood to those who need it, whether you are at home on the Cape or at an off-Cape hospital.

Remember that's what we do. When you need us, the Red Cross is there.

Hilary Greene is executive director of the Cape Cod & Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross.