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Red Cross Celebrates Volunteerism on MLK Day of Service

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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 –In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region will honor and celebrate the service of volunteers and highlight a number of volunteer based events throughout the week. 

Over 90 percent of Red Cross efforts are conducted by volunteers who respond to the more than 66,000 disasters that occur nationally each year. In 2016, more than 32,000 Los Angeles based volunteers responded to 180 significant disasters in 45 states and two U.S. territories including wildfires, storms, flooding, Hurricane Matthew and other emergencies. Those volunteers opened nearly 800 emergency shelters, provided 206,000 overnight shelter stays to people forced from their homes, served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks, and distributed more than 2.1 million relief items. 

“Volunteers are the key to fulfilling the Red Cross mission, said Jarrett Barrios, CEO Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “The dedication and ongoing service our Red Cross volunteers provide help save lives every day and we are proud of the work they do.” 

The day of Service occurs on Monday, January 16, to honor the life of Dr. King. On a day recognizing the difference one person can make, hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from around Los Angeles region will also be honoring the legacy of Dr. King by working in local communities to install an estimated 350 free smoke alarms and provide disaster education materials to more than 120 families to assist them in preparing their homes for emergencies. The smoke alarm installations are part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year nationwide initiative to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent. Last year alone, the Red Cross Los Angeles installed over 8,100 smoke alarms and nationally helped to save at least 131 lives. 

Whether helping one displaced family or thousands, providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies, it’s through the efforts of ordinary people that the Red Cross can do its extraordinary work. 

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