GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — National Volunteer Week is April 17-23 and the American Red Cross Michigan Region is honoring the work of its volunteers who give their time to help people in need.
Red Cross Michigan Region volunteers help their community in a wide variety of ways, like providing food, shelter, comfort, and hope to families who face emergency situations.
In 2021, Michigan Red Cross volunteers assisted in the aftermath of more than 1,600 home fires. They worked with partners to install more than 1,400 smoke alarms in underserved communities, trained people in lifesaving skills, and provided services to military members, veterans, and their families.
More volunteers are needed to assist in this important work. The top three volunteer positions with the most need include the Shelter Support Team, Disaster Health Services Team, and the Shelter Support Team.
Shelter Support Team: During large disasters, these volunteers support the day-to-day activities such as welcoming and registering residents, helping with meal service, distributing cots, blankets, and hygiene supplies, and providing information and other assistance within a shelter. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel, a commitment of at least 14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required.
Disaster Health Services Team: These volunteers use their professional skills as licensed healthcare providers to deliver hands-on care and education to shelter residents during a large disaster. Free online training can count towards nursing continuing education units. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel, a commitment of at least 10-14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP, APRN. Only RNs have full scope of practice.
Disaster Action Team: While big hurricanes and wildfires get the most news coverage, smaller disasters such as home fires are no less devastating to those affected. Volunteers are needed to help comfort and support local families in need by providing food, shelter, clothing, or supplies, and connecting families to recovery assistance.
Just as disasters happen every day, the need for blood is constant. The Red Cross is also recruiting volunteers to support their work to ensure hospital patients have access to safe, lifesaving blood.
If you are interested in serving as a Red Cross volunteer to help families in need, you can learn more about training and opportunities here.