CHARLESTON, WVa — 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 West Virginia and across the country.
Locally, more than 900 West Virginia Red Cross volunteers respond to local disasters, assist at blood drives, support our Service to the Armed Forces program and much more. The American Red Cross in West Virginia assisted nearly 1,000 local families impacted by a disaster. Volunteers helped more than 2,250 people affected by nearly 900 home fires in West Virginia by addressing their urgent needs like food and lodging and providing recovery support.
“This year, local Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to help neighbors devastated by disasters, 90% of those being home fires,” Erica Mani, Chief Executive Officer for the West Virginia Region of the American Red Cross 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 hurricanes, tornadoes and floods devastated families in other parts of the country this year, over 100 Red Cross workers from West Virginia 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, Red Cross emergency response vehicles from West Virginia were among those that traveled more than 900,000 miles nationwide during disasters to deliver 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 West Virginia, the American Red Cross West Virginia Region and local partners installed over 1,000 free smoke alarms and made almost 450 households safer from the threat of home fires during 2019. This brought the total number of alarms installed in West Virginia in the last five years to over 28,000 ensuring nearly 1,100 homes were safer. These efforts have saved 26 people in West Virginia.