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American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties: Month in Review – November 2017

SAN DIEGO – December 5, 2017 – The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties operates with the mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. 

National Disaster Relief Efforts

- Starting in late August, the American Red Cross launched wide-ranging relief efforts to help people devastated by three historic back-to-back hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—followed closely by the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.

- In response to the California wildfires, the Red Cross, community and government partners provided more than 27,900 overnight stays in emergency shelters. To help people recover and get back on their feet, the Red Cross has opened more than 2,800 cases, reaching more than 7,300 Californians. 

- In response to the series of hurricanes, the Red Cross, along with community and government partners, has provided nearly 1.3 million overnight stays in emergency shelters for people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. That’s more overnight shelter stays than the past five years combined. Shelters were opened in eight states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 

- A total of more than 16,600 trained disaster workers, 91 percent of them volunteers, have mobilized to support hurricane relief efforts. Many of these workers supported multiple relief operations or deployed multiple times. More than 500 Red Cross disaster workers currently remain on the ground.

- Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters like these. Visit, call the local Red Cross donation line at 858-309-1278 or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation

- To learn more about each of the on-going disaster relief efforts, please visit

Locally, the Red Cross still maintains normal operations in addition to supporting major disaster relief operations. Throughout November 2017, the following key programs and services were provided throughout the region which covers all of San Diego and Imperial Counties as well as American Samoa: 

Disaster Services

- Responded to 22 incidents, with 20 of those being home fires o Served 70 families including 287 individuals

- Provided canteen services twice, serving snacks and drinks to 20 first responders and snacks, drinks and meals for 26 patients at an evacuated commercial medical facility

Thanksgiving Weekend Responses – November 22-26 

- The local Red Cross Disaster Action Team responded to nine calls for assistance between Wednesday-Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, almost double the average amount of calls for our region. Several Red Cross volunteers responded multiple times. 

- Clairemont Mesa Apartment Fire Shelter – November 21-22 – a fire broke out in a Clairemont Mesa apartment that ultimately affected the entire building as a few units were severely damaged and several others were affected by utilities outages, displacing several dozen residents. A total of 29 disaster workers responded to set-up, staff and tear-down the shelter that was opened at Kearny High School. The shelter was closed after all residents were able to find other lodging or were provided temporary housing assistance. 

Service to the Armed Forces (SAF)

- Provided 1,255 services to 499 military members, veterans and spouses

- Conducted three outreach and pre-deployment briefings, fulfilling 100% percent of command requests and reaching over 310 military families; also conducted two resiliency workshops

- Service to the Armed Forces caseworkers conducted family follow up on 145 emergency cases for the San Diego Region

- The 11th annual Holidays for Heroes card and banner campaign brings holiday cheer to service members and their families. Cards or banners dropped off to the local Red Cross HQ (3950 Calle Fortunada, San Diego 92123) anytime between now and December 5 will be delivered to military units, family groups, military and veteran hospitals, and veteran organizations throughout the San Diego region. Some banners may be delivered to overseas installations and Red Cross stations. Holidays for Heroes instructions for cards and banners can be found at 


- Local Red Cross services were supported by volunteers who spent a total of 9,266 hours throughout the month of November to aid the Red Cross mission.

- The November 2017 Volunteer of the Month is Sharon Sveningson. Sharon currently is the volunteer feeding lead, but also works as a canteen driver, shelter supervisor and with the Safe & Well reunification team. She is a part of the Integrated Care & Condolence Team, a member of the Disaster Council and our region's Operations Management group. As feeding lead, Sharon single-handedly provided tasty and nutritious lunches for the Virtual Casework Hub volunteers who supported Hurricane Irma casework from the San Diego Red Cross office. Her lunches were a bright spot of comfort during that difficult job. She is caring, meticulous, and welcoming to all. She spent her career as a dietitian and brings that knowledge to her approach for preparing meals for volunteers. Sharon is extremely dedicated to her role in the Red Cross, she takes pride in her work and her enthusiasm is contagious. 

Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program

- A total of 24,701 women, infants, and children received nutrition counseling and support in November 2017 

- For more than 40 years, the local Red Cross has administered the WIC program in San Diego County. WIC is a supplemental nutrition assistance program that provides families in the most vulnerable communities with access to nutrition education, breastfeeding support, community resources, and groceries. 

- Keep your loved ones safe and healthy during the holidays by making sure your holiday meals are prepared in a safe way. Get helpful food safety and preparation tips from WIC to reduce bacteria and the incidence of food poisoning this holiday season. 

- Baby's first holiday season? Never fear! These mother-approved shortcuts from our Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Supervisor & Lactation Consultant can get you (and baby) through all of the holiday cooking, extra shopping, and traveling. 

 Recent Events & Announcements

- Aztecs for Life SDSU Blood Drive presented by California Coast Credit Union: A total of 313 units of blood was collected on Tuesday, November 28, at the Aztecs for Life blood drive. Every donation can save up to three lives, so up to 939 patients lives will be touched this holiday season. 

- New CEO Sean Mahoney begins on December 18: Sean Mahoney comes to the local American Red Cross from zero8hundred, an innovative non-profit that assists military members and their families as they transition to civilian life following the completion of military service. Prior to zero8hundred, Sean retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after 27 years of service with his most recent role being Captain of the Port and Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego. Additional details are included in last month’s full news release. 

Upcoming Events

- Disaster Preparedness Academy – Friday, March 23: At this fourth annual event, participants will gain valuable skills and insights necessary to protect their business, employees, family, and community from the potential impacts of disasters or emergencies. 

For more information about the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties, please visit 

About the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties 

The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support, we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; services to deployed military personnel and their families, and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Through Prepare San Diego, a regional resiliency initiative, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.