As times seem to get tougher and the weather gets colder, different groups in our area need different types of help. At this time, our local Red Cross needs help, as they are seeking volunteers.
Marita Salkowski, Regional Communications and Marketing Director, American Red Cross in the Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Region says that they are reaching out to the churches, colleges, labor unions, businesses etc. asking them to get the word out.
She says, “Our goal is to provide a community wide solution to fix this community wide problem.”
Salkowski listed a few stats needed for the Ohio River Valley Red Cross chapter: “We need 60 more volunteers in the Portsmouth area. We need volunteers to be on our Disaster Action Team, help with Casework, help install FREE smoke alarms, help with logistics and mass care. We can also use volunteers to help in the office and special events. But our greatest need is for volunteer members of the Disaster Action Team.”
She also noted that free training is provided for volunteers.
Debbie Smith, the Community Executive of the American Red Cross, for all six counties (Adams, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, and Scioto) at the local office in Portsmouth, says that there is a lot that volunteers can do locally.
Smith says, “The volunteers insure and meet with the people and make sure they have a place to stay, food, clothing and all those immediate needs that are so important. Then, we also have volunteers that will help follow-up with those that have been effected by a disaster, they might do just a follow-up call on that case work. They might insure that everything is going okay, they also provide them with other referrals. These referrals, are not only what Red Cross can do, but other partnering organizations in the community that are able to help them with other things they may need. “
They also need help from volunteers to help be someone who installs smoke alarms.
“At this time of year it’s important, we see more and more home fires, so we need a good amount of volunteers to come and help install those. We always have a waiting list, because we are covering six counties, which can mean a lot of traveling to install those smoke alarms.” They would love to have volunteers from each of their counties for this. If not volunteers, they have to use their staff members and that takes them away from what they need to do. If they have the volunteers from each of their counties, they could get that much more done.
“The Red Cross also has volunteers who help with our special events and things, we couldn’t do all we do with our events, if it wasn’t for our volunteers,” Smith added. “We also use volunteers to work here in the office, they answer the phones and just simple things like that, help so much.”
However, Smith along with Salkowski said what they need the most help with, is the disaster relief program.
Disaster Program Manager, Ed Helphinstine, said, “Whether it be a home fire, or a home that gets flooded, or a tornado, or any thing like that, the Red Cross gets called for assistance. We like for them (volunteers) to go out as teams, if at all possible. We provide that immediate assistance, to the home owner about lodging, food, and clothing, to get them through the next couple of days, until they can get things figured out. We try to do case work with the client for about a month, to help that client get to the place where they are back in a home. Again, we can identify local resources for them.”
Helphinstine also said, “We have six counties, where one county may only have one volunteer and then many of our volunteers work, so they are not able to help or be available at sometimes. “ He said it has been several years, since they have had a big volunteer pool and that volunteerism is down across the nation.
They are looking for ways to help recruit volunteers. The Red Cross is trying to have the volunteers give them days or times they are able to help, whether they work or whatever, then the Red Cross will only call them at the times they are available, not all the time.
“A volunteer can kind of make a schedule of when they can volunteer, which is different than before,” Helphinstine said.
They are looking for people who want to do something to serve their community, by appealing to people’s want to give back to their community, where they can make a positive impact on somebody’s life.
Volunteering for a good cause is something many people say they would love to do, here is the perfect place for them to carry out that goal. It is for a good cause, it is badly needed, and it will help them serve and give back to their community.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928