Financial assistance

The Red Cross needs volunteers for various services

The number of home fires in Missouri is increasing with the cold weather as residents heat their homes.

The American Red Cross in Missouri and Arkansas needs new volunteers to help respond to these local emergencies – supporting people during the times when they need it most.

So far this exercise (July 1-February 15), trained Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers from Missouri and Arkansas have responded to more than 2 100 fires. They helped around 7,000 people.

Since January 1, the region has had more than 600 fire responses and the Red Cross has assisted more than 1,900 people, according to a Red Cross press release.

DAT volunteers are needed to respond to the fires to ensure families receive immediate assistance, including funds for emergency housing, food and clothing. The services provided are free and accessible to anyone affected by a residential fire.

Volunteers are providing support during a very difficult time. They provide emotional support, access to financial assistance and information to help families begin to recover. DAT team members also offer compassion and care. Training is provided to volunteers. New volunteers are paired with experienced workers.

“Our Red Cross volunteers support their community and neighbors in need every day by responding to local emergencies,” said JoAnn Woody, executive director of the American Red Cross Central and North Missouri Chapter. “We need more volunteer help so that no one is alone in this heartbreaking situation.”

The volunteers — being available during a neighbor’s darkest hours — find the work rewarding, Woody added.

Remote volunteers called duty officers, who are the first point of contact for fire departments and other emergency response agencies, are also needed. Duty officers contact and advise volunteers who are on call to respond to home fires. Service agents are working from home.

The Red Cross also needs volunteers to support blood drives. Ambassadors welcome, register and answer questions from blood donors throughout the blood donation process. Transport specialists are needed to deliver blood to hospitals.

To learn more about volunteering with the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org/volunteeringtoday.