National Volunteer Week celebrated by Red Cross

This National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York is celebrating its dedicated volunteers and partners. These volunteers power the American Red Cross, making it possible for the organization to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

“Without volunteers, the American Red Cross could not provide much-needed services in our communities they help us make a difference” stated Kathy Burch, Assistant Executive Director.

Each year, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua County Red Cross volunteers bring food, shelter, comfort and hope to nearly 300 people faced with rebuilding after house fires, floods and other disasters.

Volunteers are central to the work of the Red Cross in Southwestern New York and in communities across the country, as on average, the Red Cross has 15 volunteers for every one employee. According to the Independent Sector, the 2012 value of volunteer time is $22.14/hour, further evidence of the tremendous value and impact volunteers hold for nonprofits such as the Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteers teach first aid, CPR, swimming and other lifesaving skills; respond to disasters and reconnect families separated by disasters or conflict; support blood drives across the country; and help veterans, members of the military and their families in the U.S. and overseas.

Now, volunteering for the Red Cross is easier than ever thanks to a new system called Volunteer Connection. This online system is easy to use and better allows new volunteers to match their skills and interests to needs across the organization.

Right now the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York especially needs people who are willing to help on Disaster Action Teams, support blood drives in their local community, help in local Red Cross offices, and assist veterans and members of the military.

Red Cross volunteers are united by their service and the feeling that in changing others’ lives, their lives are also changed. People interested in volunteering can go to to search and apply for opportunities in their community.

The Volunteer Connection System was made possible thanks to a generous grant from W.W. Grainger Inc. You may contact the Red Cross of Southwestern New York in Jamestown at 325 E. 4th St., or call 664-5115; in Olean at 452 N. Barry St., or call 716-372-5800; or in Wellsville at 112 N. Main St. or call 585-593-1531.