Red Cross puts out call for volunteers in Sauk Valley

American Red Cross

As the time for making New Year’s resolutions grows closer, the American Red Cross is asking people to become Red Cross volunteers in 2024.

“We’re seeing both the frequency and intensity of disasters increase across the country and the Red Cross is responding to nearly twice as many large disasters as we did a decade ago to help people,” said Mark Thomas, interim CEO of the Illinois Red Cross. “This uptick in responses means we need more volunteers. The need to help has never been greater.”

Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with the Red Cross to help people in the Sauk Valley or sign up to support disaster victims in other parts of the country.

How to help

Locally, more than 4,000 people volunteer with the Red Cross. In the last year, they responded to more than 1,800 disasters. Local volunteers are part of the almost 275,000 volunteers across the country whose support enables the Red Cross to provide relief and comfort for disaster victims, lifesaving blood products for patients, emergency support for military families and veterans, and much more.

Some of our most needed disaster-related volunteer roles include:

  • Disaster Action Team: Most of the 60,000 emergencies that the Red Cross responds to each year are smaller disasters like home fires; these are no less devastating to the families affected. As a Disaster Action Team volunteer, you can help comfort and support people in your community by meeting any immediate needs such as food, shelter, clothing or supplies and connecting them to long-term recovery services. The Red Cross supplies all needed training.
  • Disaster Recovery Care: Casework volunteers provide support to people after disasters to help them get back on their feet. This can include providing referrals to other organizations, serving as an advocate, and issuing financial assistance through a special online system. Volunteers are needed to help both virtually and on site after disasters.
  • Disaster Mental Health: Disaster Mental Health volunteers provide mental health support to those impacted by a disaster. To be qualified, you must hold a master’s degree and a current, unencumbered license as a social worker, psychologist, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, psychiatrist, school psychologist or school counselor. Current psychiatric nurses with a state license as a registered nurse and at least two years’ experience in a psychiatric setting are also qualified, as are retired mental health professionals who were licensed and maintained a license or certification in good standing upon retirement.

Biomedical services

The Red Cross helps to supply about 40% of the nation’s blood, and depends on volunteers to help ensure patients have access to this lifesaving gift.

  • Blood Donor Ambassador: Volunteer blood donor ambassadors ensure that blood donors have a pleasant and fulfilling experience from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. They greet donors, answer questions and thank them for their donation.
  • Blood Transportation Specialist: Volunteer transportation specialists deliver life-saving blood products from Red Cross distribution facilities to hospitals using a Red Cross-owned vehicle. Typical shifts are about four hours. The Red Cross asks for a commitment of two to four shifts per month or more.

Home fire response

Over the past week, local Red Cross volunteers responded to help 16 people in Savanna, Amboy and Rockford affected by home fires, which account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to annually across the country. Red Cross volunteers provided items to meet immediate needs after a fire and additional support in the form of shelter, health and mental health services and one-on-one support.

Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with the Red Cross. 

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois