Archive for Saturday, September 29, 2001

How you can help make a difference

September 29, 2001


Agency: Red Cross of Douglas County

Address: 2518 Ridge Court, Lawrence

Contact person: Jane Blocher

Phone: 843-3550


The American Red Cross will need more volunteers if our nation enters into a war against terrorism.

The agency is the initial point for family members who need to contact loved ones in the U.S. military service because of an emergency.

"We have two or three cases a month now, but if we go to war, we would need more volunteers," executive director Jane Blocher said.

In addition to providing services to military personnel, the Red Cross conducts four blood drives a year; sends out disaster teams to help those affected by fires, floods and tornadoes; offers water safety courses; and provides first-aid and CPR training.

Volunteers are always in high demand, Blocher said.

The agency gets the most calls from those wanting to be a part of its disaster teams. To be eligible to serve as a volunteer, a person must complete training sessions offered on the weekend.

Last year, the Red Cross responded to about 60 fires.

"All volunteers are divided into four teams, and they take turns being on call," she said. "When they are on call, they have to be available, so they need flexible schedules."

Disaster team members help with damage assessments; distribute vouchers that can be redeemed in Douglas County for lodging, food and clothing; and conduct follow-ups to see how the client is doing.

Blocher said the Red Cross also needs volunteers who are certified first-aid and CPR instructors to teach classes to community members; perform clerical duties in the Red Cross office; assist with blood donors and help provide food and beverages; and help sterilize mannequins used in CPR classes.

Last week's results

Meredith Norfolk, volunteer program director at Women's Transitional Care Services, said the agency has received calls from people who want to volunteer and donate items since it appeared in last week's "How You Can Help" feature.

"A hospital is trying to get something going among its staff (to donate items to us)," she said. "And I've personally answered five calls from people."

WTCS, however, still needs donations. Here are some items you can contribute: diapers and pullups, all sizes; unused socks and underwear for women and children; shampoo and conditioner; ethnic hair care products; laundry detergent; paper towels; toilet paper; cleaning supplies; over-the-counter medications; and alarm clocks.

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