LOS ANGELES, Dec. 31, 2019 — In the face of this year’s disasters, hundreds of thousands of people turned to the American Red Cross for food, shelter and recovery support in Los Angeles County and across the country.
View: Photos from 2019 Red Cross LA Disaster Relief Response (Flickr)
Locally, Red Cross volunteers helped Californians after its largest earthquake in years this past July and as back-to-back wildfires, including the Saddleridge, Tick and Getty fires, threatened homes across Los Angeles during the month of October. In addition, volunteers helped more than 1,950 people affected by about 350 incidences including home fires in Los Angeles by addressing their urgent needs like food and lodging and providing recovery support.
“This year, Red Cross LA volunteers worked around the clock to help neighbors devastated by disasters,” Jarrett Barrios, CEO for Red Cross Los Angeles Region said. “We’re grateful for their selfless commitment and the generous support of donors to fuel our lifesaving mission every day.”
LOCAL VOLUNTEERS HELP ACROSS THE U.S. When large disasters like wildfires and coastal hurricanes devastated families in other parts of the country this year, More than 275 volunteers from Los Angels were among the nearly 9,000 Red Cross workers — 90 percent of them volunteers — who left their homes to:
- Serve over 1.1 million meals and snacks with partners
- Distribute over 354,000 relief items
- Make over 92,000 contacts to support health, mental health, spiritual care and disability needs
- Provide over 79,000 overnight shelter stays with partners
In addition, five Red Cross emergency response vehicles from Los Angeles traveled more than 14,000 miles and were part of the nationwide responses that drove more than 900,000 miles. Each response vehicle that went out during disasters delivered relief like food, comfort kits and cleanup supplies to hard-hit neighborhoods this year.
Across the country, the Red Cross also provided emergency financial assistance to nearly 376,000 people for disaster needs like food and lodging. Many like Carlos Blanco were recovering from home fires — which account for most of the 60,000-plus disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year in the U.S. “People don’t even know how important an organization like the Red Cross can be,” he said, “and what it represents during people’s worst time. Basically, it’s hope. They don’t care who you are. They just know you need help.”
Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to work with its partners to prevent fire tragedies through its lifesaving Home Fire Campaign, which installed its 2 millionth free smoke alarm in the U.S. this year. In the Los Angeles Region, the volunteers and local partners installed more than 12,200 free smoke alarms and made more than 3,800 households safer from the threat of home fires during 2019.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people in need by making a financial donation or becoming a volunteer. Learn more at redcross.org/la. In addition, this year’s severe weather and disasters caused about 34,000 blood donations to go uncollected across the country because of cancelled blood drives. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the Red Cross urges all eligible individuals to donate. Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org.
Free preparedness classes are available online and by request across Southern California as part of PrepareSoCal, an American Red Cross campaign designed to address the needs of individuals and families to prepare for disasters by providing tips, tools, and training, nd to promote community resiliency with a focus on Southern California’s most vulnerable communities. More information on this campaign and available resources can be found at preparesocal.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. 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 redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.