American Red Cross
Northern California Coastal Region
1663 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Media Contact: Cari Dighton
In the year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, people have stepped up to address the emotional needs of families reeling from the coronavirus and 2020’s record-breaking disasters.
In the Bay Area and across the country, trained American Red Cross disaster mental health and spiritual care volunteers have had more than 53,000 conversations to provide emotional support to people in 2020 — which had the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters in a single year. In addition, trained volunteers have provided free crisis counseling through the Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center for grieving families during COVID-19.
“The past year has been overwhelming for many in our community, and yet through it all, people are caring for one another,” said Jennifer Adrio, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “When help can’t wait, they provide families with the support they need during emergencies. During Red Cross Month in March, we honor this humanitarian spirit and ask you to join us by donating, giving blood, volunteering or taking a class to learn lifesaving skills.”
WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH For nearly 80 years, U.S. presidents have proclaimed March as Red Cross Month to recognize people giving back through its lifesaving mission — which is powered by more than 90% volunteers.
They include people like Vicky Powell, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Santa Clara County. Vicky leads a team of mental health professionals to support Disaster Mental Health in the Northern California Coastal Region. They address the immediate emotional distress and psychosocial needs of both families coping with a disaster and Red Cross disaster responders during the pandemic.
“When disaster strikes, we work to identify individuals who need additional support, provide short-term disaster mental health interventions and refer individuals to local resources as necessary, in order to supplement local community resources and strengthen community resilience,” Vicky said.
A GROWING DESIRE TO GIVE BACK A 2020 study on a rise in volunteer experiences added to LinkedIn profiles shows that more people want to help others during this unprecedented time. Last year, more than 70,000 people across the country became new Red Cross volunteers largely to support urgent disaster and essential blood donation needs. In addition, thousands of COVID-19 survivors — many new to blood donation — rolled up a sleeve to give convalescent plasma and help patients battling COVID-19.
HOW TO HELP You can help ensure that families don’t face emergencies alone — especially during a pandemic:
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 or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.