Friday, August 26, 2011

Smart Giving Tips for Disasters

  • Donate cash to an established disaster relief organization, like the American Red Cross. It’s the fastest way to get help to those who need it most. 
  • If you’d like to donate used or new products, contact an established disaster relief organization that is serving the affected area determine whether there is a specific need for what you’d like to donate. 
  • Work with organizations when donating needed bulk product or food items, which can help large numbers of people in the affected community.
  • Prior to delivering items to an established relief organization, call to determine appropriate location and time for drop-off, as many have specific collection points. 
  • If you would like to organize a food or clothing drive, contact an established disaster relief organization to determine what is most needed in the affected community and how to ensure the donations are properly collected. 
  • Ask if what you’d like to donate is needed, culturally appropriate and if relief organizations can manage the collection effectively. Some well-intentioned yet  inappropriate product, food or used clothing donations can actually divert the attention of disaster relief organizations and local governments away from the task at hand by requiring them spend time sorting and storing unneeded items.
  • Consider selling your product on eBay Giving Works, or another site and donate the proceeds to an established disaster relief organization serving the affected area.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From the Interns' Desk: The Manikin Room

There are a lot of volunteers out in the field preparing for disasters like Hurricane Irene and yesterday's earthquake, but there are also volunteers in classrooms and offices around the country making sure that we can still offer the services and classes we provide no matter what happens.

As interns this summer, Taylor and I got to learn a lot from and work with the volunteers that make services possible every day. 

Before I came to the American Red Cross, I never really thought about CPR training manikins, but now I know how important they are and how much time volunteers and staff spend with them to make sure they're ready for each and every class.

Students need the hands-on experience working with the manikins in our classes to really get comfortable practicing the skills that save lives. Each student is given their own "manikin face" at the start of class, so that everyone gets the chance to practice on their own clean manikin. After each class, each manikin and manikin face goes through a thorough cleaning and sanitation process to ensure that they are safe to use for the next round of students.  All the manikin faces are washed, then washed again with bleach, then air-dried, and finally wrapped in plastic wrap to be stored until they are needed for the next class. The manikins themselves are bathed with antibacterial wipes until they are squeaky-clean and germ-free. Here's a picture of manikin faces drying in the Manikin Room

Taking care of the manikins is a lot of work, and it's important to keep our students safe. The next time you take a CPR class, remember that a volunteer cleaned that manikin just for you :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Drought in Pictures

Check out this amazing photo essay from the TIME LightBox photo blog. Many of the pictures of from Central Texas, and it really provides perspective on the scope and severity of this drought.

The drought also puts our community at greater risk for fire, so please be careful, and get more information about Wildfires and Home Fire Prevention. Awareness makes our community safer and better prepared.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From the Interns' Desk: Ashton's Story

My name is Ashton Hutches, and I was the Development and Communications Intern for this past summer.  As a 2nd year graduate student in public health at Texas A&M Health Science Center, I believe that interning with the American Red Cross of Central Texas was an excellent opportunity for me to further develop my knowledge and skills set.   

While working closely with the Chief Development Officer and the Development and Communications team, I gained valuable experience collaborating on a variety of different development and fundraising projects.  I have always felt passionately about the role that non-profit organizations have in their community, and throughout the internship, I became more aware of the contribution that the Red Cross makes to the health and needs of people within the Austin area.  Overall, it was a very rewarding experience to be a part of a humanitarian organization that has such a profound impact on the lives of people throughout the world. Even though my internship is over, you will find me still volunteering with my local Red Cross!

We (the staff in Central Texas) would like to thank Ashton for her great work this summer. Would you like to join us as an intern? Check out all of our Internship Opportunities

Monday, August 15, 2011

Calling for Volunteers! Red Cross Launches Operation Outreach

The American Red Cross of Central Texas is proud to announce the launch of Operation Outreach, in partnership with Serve Austin.

Operation Outreach is one of Serve Austin’s five new initiatives, designed to  meet an urgent community need in a way it hasn't been before. Women military veterans often have a difficult time reintegrating into civil society upon their return from service. Not only must they deal with the challenges that all veterans face, but also additional stresses and hardships that their male counterparts do not. Government studies have shown that female service members have a three times higher rate of failed marriages than male members, they are much more likely than male members to be single parents, and they are four times more likely than non-veteran women to be homeless.

These statistics, coupled with the government estimate that 1 in 3 returning service women have been sexually violated, showcases the pressing need to provide these women with the support and resources to help ease the transition and prevent such statistics from becoming their reality. To undertake such a task, Serve Austin has partnered the American Red Cross of Central Texas to recruit 100 volunteers who they themselves are women veterans or family members of such. These volunteers will proactively interact with returning service women, actively seeking them out in our community and helping them gain access to basic needs such as housing, employment, medical care, and family support. They will be empowered to direct veterans toward appropriate resources and help them navigate the often confusing red tape that is sometimes involved with contacting support services. With over thirty governmental agencies and private support organizations on board to help the Red Cross develop its volunteer training curriculum and compile a comprehensive repository of all available services, all that remains to set the plan into action is finding our volunteers! If you are interested in helping these brave women, please register for one of our upcoming training sessions by contacting Customer Service Specialist Stephanie Cosmas at 512-929-1225 or  

Military Veteran Support Orientations are currently scheduled:

Tuesday 9/6, 6-7pm & Thursday 9/8, 6-9pm

Saturday 9/10, 9am – 1pm

Please join us to support our veterans and help our neighbors in need. Your support is vital to the success of this program.