Our local chapter of the Red Cross has been sending volunteers since the beginning of the emergency, and is still deploying needed volunteers to assist with shelter and other recovery efforts.
American Red Cross Central Coast Region will be sending AmeriCorps staff member Christa Macdonald to North Carolina to assist in the relief efforts. Ms Macdonald has been training with the local Red Cross chapter for the past month in preparation for her service as an AmeriCorps member, and will be working for the next year in the Santa Barbara office. However, she got a call this morning asking her to use her training to deploy to North Carolina. “I am extremely excited to use my Red Cross training to help others. I want to be where the action is so that I can help people in need”.
Ms. Macdonald sought out the Red Cross after college, where she received her degree in Kinesiology from CSU Fresno. “I have always been interested in community service. I want to work in the health field, and thought volunteering would give me that experience”. While researching opportunities, she found she could serve through AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps places its members in local nonprofit organizations to build capacity, work with community volunteers, and help communities respond to disasters. The Red Cross currently has six AmeriCorps members serving in the tri-counties. Ms. Macdonald was placed with the Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter, and began her service in early August.
“I grew up in Santa Maria – third generation – and am so pleased to be giving back to my community,” she states. Ms. Macdonald attended Santa Maria high school and had a connection with the Red Cross then as well – she trained in CPR and First Aid.
Ms. Macdonald is making her travel plans and expects to be deployed tomorrow. She is excited about the opportunity, stating “I want to be where the action is. I know if there was an earthquake here, there would be a Red Cross volunteer ready to help me. I can pay it forward by serving people affected by Irene today.”
Jim McGee, Regional CEO, said “We are proud of our local volunteers and their willingness to serve our neighbors on the other side of the country. I know our Red Crossers will be on the ground as long as is necessary to meet the needs of those that have been so dramatically impacted by this hurricane”
American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year. If you would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, you can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Central Coast Region of the American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties. The Red Cross is not a government agency; we rely on donations of time, money, and blood to do our work. To help prepare your local community for disasters you can send contributions to your local Red Cross chapter. For more information, visit our website at www.redcrosscentralcoast.org.