During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, life’s emergencies don’t stop — and neither does the work of the American Red Cross.
Each day, people still rely on us to help prevent and alleviate their suffering, and we’re grateful to our volunteers and employees working tirelessly to support those we serve, as well as to our generous donors who make the Red Cross mission possible.
Because everyone’s wellbeing is our top priority, we continue to work closely with public health officials to deliver our services safely and coordinate our efforts with government agencies and partners. This means that, as the coronavirus evolves and affects communities differently, our services may look different in each area to ensure we are aiding local families where they need us most.
“Being able to volunteer with the Red Cross has helped me overcome this feeling of helplessness that there’s nothing that you can do,” said Red Cross volunteer Phil Cogan, who has been taking emergency calls to help dispatch relief after local disasters. “It has demonstrated to me that even by being at home, I can make a contribution to help others through the Red Cross.”
GIVING COMFORT AND SUPPORT AFTER HOME FIRES As communities follow stay-at-home orders, the risk of home fires hasn’t gone away. Since February, when the coronavirus outbreak began to escalate in our country, Red Cross workers have helped more than 53,000 people recover from more than 13,000 home fires nationwide.
To help keep everyone safe and follow social distancing guidelines, Red Cross volunteers are working with local fire departments to connect with families by phone or video calls, offering a sympathetic ear and linking them to available support, such as providing hotel stays and emergency financial assistance.
With the help of the Red Cross, Jessie Austin and his neighbors are among those who found refuge in a hotel after a fire displaced them from their apartment. Red Cross volunteers have also delivered hot meals and helped them create recovery plans and locate available assistance.
“You can tell that they care,” Austin said of the Red Cross workers helping him. “That’s the main thing. I’m very appreciative of them.”
PROVIDING REFUGE FROM DISASTERS In addition to home fires, Red Cross volunteers are helping people displaced by disasters like recent tornadoes across several states in the U.S. — which has experienced the deadliest tornado season in nearly a decade. As we adapt our physical response due to COVID-19, we’ve provided more than 17,500 overnight stays in emergency hotel lodging since April 16, rather than opening traditional shelters for tornadoes, large home fires affecting multiple families and other crises.
We’re also working with public health officials on our COVID-19 plans to respond as needed to the ongoing threat of spring flooding, severe storms, wildfires and the above-normal hurricane season forecast for this year. We want everyone to receive help as quickly as possible, and that’s why the generosity of donors who provide support before crises happen is critical to ensure we have resources to mobilize at a moment’s notice.
DELIVERING RELIEF WHERE IT’S NEEDED MOST Responding during this public health crisis is a team effort, and the Red Cross is working closely with local partners to address people’s emergency needs — which vary by community, but include:
FULFILLING OUR LIFESAVING MISSION Beyond disasters, we’re helping people through other parts of our mission:
HOW YOU CAN HELP This is the time to take care of one another. Join us:
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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