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Support Your Community – Become a Red Cross Volunteer

written by an American Red Cross Volunteer

Will you consider becoming an American Red Cross volunteer and helping people in your neighborhood?

The Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies through the power of volunteers. We accomplish this lifesaving work through the generosity of the nearly 372,000 volunteers who give of their time and talent to help people in need.

Volunteers carry out 90 percent of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. They help victims of disaster, provide care and comfort to ill and injured service members and veterans, teach others lifesaving skills such as First Aid and CPR, help staff blood drives and much more.

Red Cross volunteers respond to an average of more than 62,000 disasters every year. They help train more than 6.2 million people in Red Cross lifesaving skills; help provide more than 442,000 services to military members, veterans and their families and help reconnect more than 8,000 families separated by war or disaster around the world. In addition, roughly 2.7 million volunteer donors give blood every year.

The Red Cross invites you to be a part of the lifesaving work it does and sign up to volunteer and donate blood. People can learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application here.

Eligible individuals can find a blood drive near them by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals can also open the Red Cross Blood skill on an Alexa-enabled device with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood Skill” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The Red Cross encourages individuals to make a donation appointment and to complete a RapidPass® online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass® can now be completed on mobile devices and through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign offers another way to volunteer and help reduce the number of home fire injuries and deaths locally. Volunteers are going door-to-door in neighborhoods at high risk for fires to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety. Since the campaign launched in 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save more than 600 lives and installed more than 1.8 million smoke alarms in homes across the country.

Red Cross Disaster volunteers offer comfort to people impacted by emergencies. Here mental health volunteer Shirley Jackson hugs Texan Lola Jones after damaging flooding this spring. Red Cross photo by Daniel Cima.

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