Red Cross seeks volunteers in Shawnee

·2 min read
The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Blood drives are one area where locals can volunteer with the Red Cross.
The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Blood drives are one area where locals can volunteer with the Red Cross.

In times of crisis — from house fires and floods to tornadoes — volunteers with the Red Cross are ready to lend a hand of hope.

Local volunteers are part of the almost 300,000 people across the country whose support enables the Red Cross to respond to an average of more than 60,000 disasters every year.

Loida Haffener Salmond is the executive director of the South Central and Southeast Oklahoma Chapter of the Red Cross, a region that serves 28 counties in Oklahoma, including Pottawatomie County. The chapter's headquarters is located here in Shawnee.

Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in the number of major disasters, she said, and in Pottawatomie County, the Red Cross is most often called to assist people when fires have destroyed their homes and belongings.

“There is a great need,” she said, and when neighbors in the community face their darkest hours, she said the Red Cross is there “turning a tragic situation into hope.”

And while COVID-19 has had an impact on everything, Haffener Salmond said now is a good time for them to get out in the community again to share what volunteer opportunities are available, Many roles that can be up to the individual, she said, and some types of volunteer services include training.

“Red Cross is the gold standard when it comes to relief and training," she said, adding that volunteers are needed in many areas and capacities.

Some volunteer opportunities can include representatives helping with registrations at blood drives as the Red Cross faces a 10-year low in blood supplies, or assisting members of the armed forces and veterans with services. Another area is being a part of a Disaster Action Team, which could include helping those impacted by house fires or other disasters.

Haffener Salmond said 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of community volunteers, which is why they need to increase volunteer numbers to continue their relief work.

A workshop for area residents to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross will be held in Shawnee on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

That event is being held at noon at the Shawnee Public Library on Main Street in downtown Shawnee. For more information, a Facebook event page page can be found at: https://fb.me/e/17t6v6PVL.

This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: Red Cross to hold volunteer opportunities event in Shawnee