Alaskan Red Cross volunteer mobilize to provide shelter, food and emotional support
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, September 18, 2020 – More than 90 large wildfires have burned over 5 million acres across the western U.S., forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate across California, Oregon and Washington. It could be weeks before people can return home, and the American Red Cross is there to support them.
The Red Cross is coordinating closely with non-profit partners and local officials to mobilize a massive relief effort across these three states to ensure that people have a safe place to stay, food and comfort during this time of uncertainty. More than 1,200 Red Cross disaster workers are helping evacuees cope, both on the ground and virtually. To date, 30 Red Cross of Alaska volunteers have assisted these relief efforts, hailing from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Salcha and Wasilla.
Red Cross volunteers are supporting temporary evacuation points, which are sites dedicated to directing evacuees to the best sheltering option for their individual needs. Since the end of July, the Red Cross and partners have provided nearly 133,000 overnight shelter and hotel stays to those who have sought refuge from the Western wildfires. In addition, with the help of partners, the Red Cross has already served more than 286,000 meals and snacks, and distributed more than 22,000 relief items.
Volunteers have also provided more than 17,000 individual care contacts to provide emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times. This includes replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or other medical equipment.
More relief supplies — including ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets and personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer — are being moved in to support people in need. Red Cross Integrated Care Condolence Teams are being mobilized to help coordinate services and provide support to families whose loved ones are missing, injured or deceased.
HOW TO HELP
Help people affected by the western wildfires by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the words WILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.
If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review our most urgently needed volunteer positions at redcross.org/volunteertoday.
About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In Fiscal Year 2020, the American Red Cross of Alaska responded to 401 disasters by offering food, shelter, relief supplies, comfort, hope and recovery services to 1,024 Alaskans in 55 communities statewide. Our preparedness teams installed 1,165 free smoke alarms and educated 775 youth through The Pillowcase Project. Our Training Services department enrolled 13,878 students in first aid/CPR/AED, aquatics and caregiving classes. Our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 682 global 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 2020, our statewide workforce of 582 volunteers logged 40,851 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.