Red Cross honors volunteers during National Volunteer Week

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Whenever disaster strikes a community, American Red Cross volunteers are there to help those in need. (Photo by Carl Manning/American Red Cross)

The American Red Cross is honoring its volunteers during National Volunteer Week (April 23-29) for giving their time, energy and compassion to help those in need and is urging people interested in helping others in times of disaster to become Red Cross volunteers.

Red Cross volunteers respond to some 64,000 disasters each year, the vast majority of those being home fires where volunteers help those displaced with both short-term and long-term needs.

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The American Red Cross helps military families. (Photo by American Red Cross)

Nationally, there are nearly 314,000 volunteers in nearly 270 Red Cross chapters in the U.S. There are many ways people can get involved and the Red Cross always is looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels.

People can go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

With another severe weather and flood season in the Western Missouri Region, the Red Cross is prepared to respond where needed. Last month, Red Cross volunteers provided assistance after tornadoes struck Oak Grove and Smithville.

Part of that preparation includes recruitment and training new volunteers, preparing communities to deal with emergencies and maintaining equipment and supplies so the Red Cross is ready to respond immediately.

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American Red Cross was in Oak Grove, MO after a tornado struck. (Photo by Sherri Odell/American Red Cross)

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign offers volunteers the opportunity to help reduce the number of home fire injuries and deaths by 25 percent over the next several years. Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door with local partners such as fire departments to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety.

Since 2014, volunteers have installed more than 790,000 smoke alarms in nearly 10,000 cities and towns throughout the U.S. The Home Fire Campaign has been credited with saving at least 215 lives.

The Red Cross also provides humanitarian support to military members, veterans and their families around the clock and around the world with 52 Service to the Armed Forces stations. Through the Hero Care Network, the Red Cross serves and supports the military community by providing emergency communications, comfort and assistance every day.

The Hero Care Network is available at 1-800-REDCROSS or by submitting an online request at redcross.org/HeroCareNetwork. People also can contact their local Red Cross office and they can download the free Hero Care App to provide instant access to vital Red Cross services anywhere in the world.

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The American Red Cross helps those who have lost everything in a disaster. (Photo by Carl Manning/American Red Cross)

Another way to volunteer is to donate blood. Every day, the Red Cross needs to collect nearly 14,000 units of blood to meet the needs of patients at some 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. The Red Cross collects, processes and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. People also can download the Red Cross Blood Donor App to schedule and manage appointments.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. On average, 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in its humanitarian services and programs.

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