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Red Cross Holds Preparedness Event in OKC Hispanic Community

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I hope to share the information I learned today with my family and my neighborhood

The American Red Cross works with people of all different backgrounds, nationalities and circumstances. In an effort to better reach the Hispanic community, the Red Cross launched a Hispanic outreach effort, the Cruz Roja, in the south Oklahoma City area. The event took place at Oklahoma City Community College in Capitol Hill.

The event’s goal was to prepare Hispanic families for the upcoming tornado season and to gain volunteers in that community. After the devastation caused by the May tornadoes of 2013, The American Red Cross recognized the urgent need at hand. Thus, the Red Cross put a plan into motion to reach and engage the Hispanic Community.
“We were trapped in our car with no way out! We didn’t think we were going to live! There was a river of trees, water and power lines. The only thing that kept us together was knowing our family was together,” said Teresa Ellis, a victim affected by the May tornado. Although her house was not affected, the experience alone called her into action. When Teresa heard about the preparedness event hosted by the American Red Cross, she made it a point to attend.

“We want others to realize that the Hispanic people want to help the community too. We are not just here to take from it,” stated another Hispanic Red Cross Volunteer.

Many volunteers came to assist the Hispanic Outreach event. One of these volunteers was Ivelisse Cruz, a bilingual volunteer since 2009. “Before I moved from Puerto Rico to Oklahoma City, I was not aware of how many different ways you could volunteer at The American Red Cross. During the May tornadoes, The Red Cross OKC became like a family to me. We became a team, and we would check on each other constantly.”  She recognized the need to prepare the Hispanic Community and has been determined to make a difference. “We all come from different backgrounds, but we are passionate to serve and here to help,” she said.

In order to prevent the dangers associated with miscommunication and unpreparedness, The American Red Cross has made an effort to acquire many new bilingual volunteers. “As a volunteer, I hope to be the bridge between The American Red Cross and the Hispanic Community. I have found that many people do not come to these events because they think that it is only in English. They had no idea that there were resources provided in Spanish too,” exclaimed Mercedes Mortin, a recent addition to the Red Cross volunteer’s team.

The event provided all materials in English and Spanish. All who attended were given vital preparedness information for the upcoming storm season.

“I found this event to be extremely beneficial, and I hope to share the information I learned today with my family and my neighborhood,” said Ellis.

The American Red Cross has bilingual volunteers and provides all resources in Spanish. For more information about the Red Cross please visit or  Join the Red Cross as a volunteer today at