American Red Cross searching for volunteers

September 18, 2020. Gates, Oregon. Angie Porter of the American Red Cross conducts damage assessment after the Oregon wildfires near Gates, OR. The Red Cross also works with government partners to assess damages. This assessment allows the Red Cross and its partners to understand the need and plan recovery. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

By Jessica Brodkin Webb

Staff Writer

The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, which relies on a 90% volunteer workforce, is recruiting new volunteers for their Disaster Action Team and Blood Services volunteers, including people to help throughout East County.

Regional Communications Manager for Southern California region Brianna Kelly said that of the 635 local disasters in 2020 and 2021 throughout the region, 40 of them were home fires with displaced families from the East County areas of Alpine, Jamul, Descanso, Julian, Ramona, Dulzura and Campo.

Disaster volunteers help families with their immediate needs after a fire in their home, Kelly said. Team members are trained to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide emotional support, access to financial assistance and information to help families begin to recover in the aftermath of fires and other disasters.

“Disaster Action Team volunteers can even assist survivors with the replacement of necessities like glasses or medical equipment, which are often lost in a devastating event like a home fire. From offering a shoulder to cry on, to meeting any immediate needs for shelter or supplies, to connecting people with long term recovery services, our volunteers ensure that families don’t have to face tough times alone,” Kelly said.

The local Red Cross is also in search of volunteers to support its disaster preparedness offerings in East County, such as its free smoke alarm program and disaster preparedness outreach initiatives, which aim to help community members prepare for, respond to, and recover from wildfires, home fires and more, Kelly said.

The Red Cross will provide all training and supplies, so volunteers can then offer preparedness programs in their communities.

At the same time, the organization is also looking for Blood Services volunteers to support collections as the country faces an ongoing critical need for blood products and platelets.

Within their Blood Services division, Blood Donor Ambassadors greet donors at events, assist with registering, and provide information to blood donors throughout the process. Blood Transportation Specialists, meanwhile, close the loop by delivering donated blood to hospitals in local communities.

COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all in-person volunteer roles beginning Feb. 15, 2022.

The Southern California Region of the American Red Cross serves San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties.

Anyone who is interested in learning more should visit for more information about opportunities or to sign up as a Red Cross volunteer.