LOS ANGELES, November 24, 2020 — Families in the U.S. have spent more nights in emergency lodging in 2020 than in any other year during the past decade. Disasters haven’t stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, and another relentless disaster year shows why people still need support every day. This is a time to continue taking care of one another. On Giving Tuesday, help people in need by donating at redcross.org/gift.
More than 1 million times this year, a person relied on the Red Cross for a safe place to sleep after a disaster in the U.S. That’s more than four times the annual average from 2011 to 2019.
In California, this year’s total so far includes more than 242,400 overnight stays for people affected by the more than 8,500 wildfires, which have burned more than 4.1 million acres. The Red Cross and our partners have also helped by:
- Serving more than 816,300 meals and snacks
- Distributing more than 53,000 relief items
- Making more than 49,400 individual care contacts
- Providing more than 1,600 households with emergency financial assistance
“As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, disasters like wildfires in California — plus relentless hurricanes and other emergencies — have upended hundreds of thousands of lives across the country,” said Joanne Nowlin, CEO of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Through it all, more people are stepping up as Red Cross volunteers to help others — even as they cope with the impact of these events, and COVID-19, on their own lives. It’s a true testament to the humanitarian spirit of people in Los Angeles and in our country.”
ONE FAMILY’S WILDFIRE STORY Juniper Hills residents Cyndi Skinner and her daughter Heather are among families who were forced to evacuated during COVID-19 after the Bobcat Fire reached the edge of their property, consuming a storage barn. This was the second time since 2006 the Skinners were forced from their home under threat from fire. In both instances, the Red Cross provided them a safe place to stay until they could return home.
Despite losing part of the property as well as a precious family heirloom to the fire, Cyndi expressed her deepest gratitude for the support the Red Cross lent her family, both in 2006 and 2020. Read the full story on Red Cross LA Talks.
THOUSANDS ANSWER CALL TO HELP This year, more than 70,000 people across the country joined the Red Cross as volunteers — representing more than 90 percent of its workforce. As California and the country grapples with the pandemic, young people have played a critical role in disaster response, with Millennials and Gen Z representing more than half of new Red Cross volunteers.
75 percent of these new volunteers stepped up to fill mission-critical positions across the country, such as shelter and health workers, addressing urgent disaster needs and other vital services. Many Angelenos deployed both in person and virtually to assist with relief efforts in Northern California and Oregon amidst several simultaneous, record-breaking wildfires across the West Coast.
HOW YOU CAN HELP On Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season, help people in need by donating at redcross.org/gift. A donation of any size provides hope in times of crisis — whether someone needs a safe place to stay after a home fire, CPR, a lifesaving blood transfusion or help contacting a loved one deployed with the military during an emergency.
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.