Virtual Family Assistance Center provides resources to those struggling with loss and grief due to the pandemic
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 8, 2020 — The American Red Cross of Alaska recently launched a Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC) to support families struggling with loss and grief due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
People can visit redcross.org/get-help to access a support hub with special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need. The hub will also connect people to other community resources provided by the Red Cross of Alaska and other partners. People without internet access can call 833-492-0094 for help.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but especially for those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” said Annie Caulfield, Red Cross of Alaska disaster mental health regional lead. “Not only have these families experienced the unexpected passing of a loved one, but they are also facing additional challenges caused by this public health emergency. We want them to know that the Red Cross is here to provide compassion and support as they grieve.”
Caulfield is currently virtually deployed to support the VFAC on the national level. She provides emotional support, mental health services and connects those affected in other states with resources and virtual support programs. She has been supporting this effort for the past two weeks.
To speak with Annie Caulfield, Red Cross of Alaska disaster mental health regional lead, please contact the Red Cross of Alaska 24-hour media line at 907-782-7520.
Many families across the country have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process due to restrictions related to COVID-19. To help, the Red Cross has set up a virtual team of specially trained mental health, spiritual care and health services volunteers who are:
- Connecting with families over the phone to offer condolences, support and access to resources that may be available
- Providing support for virtual memorial services for families, including connecting with local faith-based community partners
- Hosting online classes to foster resilience and facilitate coping skills
- Sharing information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations including legal resources for estate, custody, immigration or other issues
All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential and free.
About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In Fiscal Year 2019, the American Red Cross of Alaska responded to 435 disasters by offering food, shelter, relief supplies, comfort, hope and recovery services to 1,096 Alaskans in 50 communities statewide. Our preparedness teams installed 2,171 free smoke alarms and educated 1,409 youth through The Pillowcase Project. Our Training Services department enrolled 19,665 students in first aid/CPR/AED, aquatics and caregiving classes. Our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 1,299 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. In Fiscal Year 2019, our statewide workforce of 729 volunteers logged 40,735 hours in service to our mission and their fellow Alaskans. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Alaska or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.