Monday, April 11, 2016

Celebrating National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is April 10-17 and the American Red Cross, Western and Central New York Region, is honoring its volunteers who give their time to help people in need.

Nearly 330,000 volunteers serve the organization, helping staff blood drives, volunteering at veterans hospitals, teaching people lifesaving skills such as First Aid and CPR, responding to home fires in the middle of the night and so much more. Here in the Western and Central New York, 4,275 volunteers help the community.

“We want to take this time during Volunteer Week to thank our volunteers for their service,” said Rosie Taravella, Western and Central New York Regional CEO. “They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”

Last year, Western and Central New York Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 1,572 local families who faced emergency situations. They trained 86,708 people in lifesaving skills and provided 2,649 services to military members, veterans and their families.

The Red Cross invites the public to be a part of the lifesaving work it does and to sign up to volunteer and donate blood. People can go to to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, people should visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign offers another way to volunteer and help reduce the number of home fire injuries and deaths locally. Volunteers are going door-to-door in neighborhoods at high risk for fires to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety. Since the Home Fire Campaign started, it has been credited with saving a number of lives. Volunteers have already installed hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in more than 4,100 cities and towns across the United States.

Red Cross Responds to Three Weekend Fires Across Western New York

Volunteers from the American Red Cross responded to three separate fires in Erie and Chautauqua counties over the weekend, providing immediate emergency assistance for 15 people. Red Cross assistance typically includes vouchers for temporary housing, food and clothing as needed, and Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help with the emotional aspect of disaster. Those affected will meet with caseworkers in the coming days to work on a longer-term recovery plan.

Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers responded to fires at the following dates and locations:

  • ·         Saturday, April 9
    Brookhaven Drive, Cheektowaga
    Two adults and two children assisted
    Volunteers: Betsy Crocker and Diane Sargent

    ·         Saturday, April 9
    Newton Avenue, Buffalo
    Two adults and four children assisted
    Volunteers: Betsy Crocker and Diane Sargent

    ·         Sunday, April 10
    King Road, Forestville
    Two adults and three children assisted
    Volunteers: Christine Thompson and Mary Walker
The American Red Cross has launched an initiative to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent over five years. The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross is joining with fire departments and community groups nationwide to install free smoke detectors in homes that need them. For more information or to schedule an installation appointment, email or call 716-878-2353.

The Red Cross relies on financial contributions to provide help and comfort to disaster victims anywhere, anytime. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.