By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio
April 27, 2020- For everyone in Northern Ohio, and across the world, COVID-19 has changed many aspects of everyday life and forced us to adapt to this new normal. However, one aspect that COVID-19 could not change was the fact that emergencies do not take breaks.
Regardless of the pandemic, local disasters, such as home fires, are still occurring and the Red Cross’ mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies must go on. However, the Red Cross has had to find a new way to provide the Red Cross assistance that many rely on following an emergency.
Safety for Red Cross Disaster Action Team members and the residents we are assist is our number on priority. While we no longer can give a hug or a handshake due to social distancing, it does not mean the renowned comfort the Red Cross is known for has to stop.
The Red Cross has come up with new and inventive ways to deliver the much-needed assistance to those who are experiencing the worst day of their lives:
- We have screening questions that we ask our clients before we respond, to protect our volunteers and our clients.
- We can conduct interviews over the phone, to ensure that we have a timely response in order to meet their needs and get them assistance in the form of shelter, food, clothing, disaster health services or disaster mental health services.
- We have the capability to conduct video interviews, so the client sees the smile, and the helping demeanor of our volunteers.
- We have developed ways to deliver cards loaded with financial assistance to a location of the client’s choosing, always with the safety and health of our volunteer and clients at the forefront.
- We also have volunteer caseworkers who will work with our clients on the phone to connect them with community partners.
Over the weekend, the Red Cross of Northern Ohio virtually assisted 13 adults, 6 children and provided more than $3,500 in immediate financial assistance.
The Northern Ohio Region will be hosting two virtual volunteer information sessions this week. The two sessions, tomorrow, April 28 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 29 12-1 p.m., will provide you an opportunity to learn how you can make a difference by providing disaster response assistance, assisting at blood drives which keep our nation’s blood supply stable and providing support to our military, veterans and their families
The information sessions will take place online.
For more information and to RSVP, contact Melanie Collins at (330) 204-6615 or firstname.lastname@example.org.