Haiti Earthquake Update, February 4, 2010

For an up to the minute, straight from the horse’s mouth update on Haiti, visit:


For those of you who don’t know, the American Red Cross is just a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.  Not in recent history have so many societies from all over the world come together on a relief mission.

The IFRC has put together this (very cool) Google Earth map with current relief activities (requires you to download Google Earth): http://www.ifrc.org/what/disasters/response/haiti/RCRC-activities-in-Haiti_28Jan.kmz

$5 can buy Hope.

Everyone knows money can’t buy you love… but did you know that you can buy a big barrel of hope for only $5.00?

When you give that $5.00 to the American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County Chapter, it’s true.

Just $5.00 can provide bedding for a family at a Red Cross Shelter, or blankets to the victims of a home fire.  If you give only $10.00, you provide a day’s worth of meals to a disaster victim.  Pretty slick, eh?  Any donation to the Red Cross assures that we’ll be there when the community needs us, providing services that help rebuild lives.

Helping the Red Cross in its humanitarian mission is as easy as giving up 1 trip to the coffee shop.  Or, using a coupon the next time you order a pizza.  Or, finding that random $5.00 bill that went through the wash in the pocket of your jeans (I LOVE when that happens).

As always, you can send your donation or come in to 2960 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz, visit our website at www.sccredcross.org, or give us a call at 831-462-2881 to make your donation.  We also have some awesome community partners that have agreed to take donations on our behalf!  Check out the following locations, and drop some hope in the bucket:












What (else) we do.

When people think about the Red Cross, they generally think of only one thing at a time.  Like Blood donations, or disaster relief.  But we do SO MUCH MORE than that.

Here are our top 4 least known, but not least important programs:

Some of our Youth get ready for SafeRides

Some of our Youth get ready for SafeRides

1. Non Emergency Medical Transportation for elderly and low income patients.

We take people who would otherwise have great difficulties getting to their medical appointments over the hill to hospitals such as the VA, Stanford and UCSF.  This service is the only lifeline for many of our clients.  The service is free and the program is funded entirely by donations.

2. Service to the Armed Forces and their families

One of our oldest service lines is our service to the armed forces.  We help deliver emergency messages to military members abroad and offer the families services such as counseling, financial aid, and more.  In the event of a family emergency, we help bring military members home to be with their families.

Visiting Troops in the Hospital

Visiting Troops in the Hospital

3. Youth Services

Thanks to our Youth Services Manager, Katie Radvanyi, we have a flourishing Youth Services Department.  The department helps high school and college students create and implement youth run programs including events for the Measles Initiative and Safe Rides for Teens, a program offering rides home to youth who find themselves in a dangerous situation.  In the past, Youth Services has done programs such as Operation: Care and Comfort, which sent donated items to military oversees.  Youth Services even has its own core of disaster services volunteers who are learning how to work in a Red Cross shelter.

4. Holocaust Tracing

The Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center is a national clearinghouse for persons seeking the fates of loved ones

The Bay Area Red Cross Chapter helped Rosa (Pictured) find out what happened to her parents and baby brother during WWII

The Bay Area Red Cross Chapter helped Rosa (Pictured) find out what happened to her parents and baby brother during WWII

missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath.  It assists U.S. residents searching for proof of internment, forced/slave labor, or evacuation from former Soviet territories on themselves or family members.

  • All tracing services are free of charge.
  • They use the worldwide network of more than 180 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and the Magen David Adom in Israel.
  • They also consult museums, archives, and international organizations to further facilitate tracing requests.
  • Cases remain open, and if new information becomes available, it is immediately shared with the inquirer.

As a chapter, we facilitate communications between this important branch of the Red Cross and people who may need the service in our area.

See anything you’re interested in?  There are volunteer opportunities!  Shoot us an email at volunteer@sccredcross.org

Santa Barbara Fire Response: A volunteer’s perspective

One of our volunteers, Mr. Bill Fitler, just got back from working the wildfire relief down in Santa Barbara.  Bill is a great volunteer and board member.  He goes to almost every disaster and works in leadership roles at the shelters.  AND, Bill does all of this with a relative calm.  As you can imagine, this is a helpful trait to have during a disaster response.

During his time in Santa Barbara, Bill wrote this entry on his Facebook page.  It’s an awesome look into the life of a Red Cross volunteer.  Thanks for sharing, Bill!

I’m volunteering for the Red Cross doing disaster relief for the Jesusita Fire. This past Friday, 4 of us were called down from our Santa Cruz chapter. I came down to help Govt Liaisons in the Emergency Operations Center (which was a new role for me). Santa Barbara has a very strong disaster cadre, and with the events of last year (Gap and Tea fires) they have recent experience. So I was a tad surprised that they called for mutual support.

The reason that the mutual aid call went out is because of how scary it was on Thursday night. The “sundowner” winds that night kicked in about 10pm and more than doubled the fire size in the next few hours. They evacuated 9000(?) homes at 2am and flooded the shelters with people who had little time to ask friends and family for a place to stay. We got down on Friday, and watched the spectacular flames viewable that were visible on the hills from most of the city.

On Saturday morning the fog had rolled in. Along with 590 fire engines and 4500 firefighters. It went from 10% containment to 55% containment this Sunday morning (which, thankfully, is still a bit foggy). Another “weather event” could arrive as soon as tomorrow, which could put the kabosh on our winding down – but unless that happens, its starting to feel like a drill (and that’s a good thing).

Working disaster for the Red Cross is no picnic. Friday night I slept (sort of) in a staff shelter on a cot (Saturday afternoon I slept through a staff meeting…) The hours can be really long: even when things are winding down, 12 hour shifts aren’t uncommon. There are times of frustration and hectic business interspersed with hours of waiting just being at a post.

And I meet a lot of great people. I’ve got a powerful respect for fire crews battling the fires in these rugged conditions (and did I mention that fire season *starts* tomorrow?) My fellow volunteers turn out to have fascinating stories (and sometimes we’ll have hours to share them with each other). And my heart goes out to the clients we meet who have been turned out of their homes either temporarily or much longer. Been there, done that – and I know how great it can be to get the t-shirt from someone who cares.

Are you SURE you don’t know a Hero?

This Friday, April 10, is the deadline to nominate your hero for the 4th Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards (May 20).

Of course we have traditional heroes on our list – Medical Heroes, Rescue Professional Heroes, Military Heroes, Law Enforcement Heroes – heroes who touch (and in some cases Save) our lives every day.  The Heroes Breakfast is about honoring not only these brave men and women, but also the heroes you might not hear about.  They babysitter who saves a child from choking because a parrot came to warn her… for…instance…

Yes, animals can be nominated in the Animal Rescue category – but it would have to be as good as little Willie.

You can also nominate groups for any of our award categories.  For instance, if a certain fire company saved your home last summer, you could nominate the whole group.  We’re aware that it is a hard thing to find one hero to represent all of the professional heroes in Santa Cruz County!

Also, heroes do not need to have saved a life!  Heroes can be individuals that put a little extra into the community each year, or work hard to give others the things they need.

So, are you sure you don’t know a hero?

Nominate your hero at sccredcross.org.

Heroes: You have them, We want them.

Please help us honor our local heroes!  Each year the Santa Cruz County Chapter calls for the community to nominate their heroes for our Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards.  We are currently accepting nominations (ONLINE! :D) and the deadline for nominations is April 10.  Please share your hero’s story with us (capes and masks are, as always, optional)!

Categories Include:
  • Animal Rescue
  • Education
  • Good Samaritan
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Medical Professional
  • Military
  • Rescue Professional
  • Workplace
  • Youth (under 21)
    Criteria for Nominations:
  • Nominees must live or work in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act does not need to have occurred in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act must have occurred after January 1, 2007
  • If you have submitted a nomination form within the last two years and your hero has not been ed to receive an award, he or she is still eligible. Please re-submit your nomination for consideration.

To get you in the mood to nominate a hero, I have totally and without remorse stolen the following ad from the Greater Chicago Chapter.  Oh, how I love their sense of humor.  Also, before I came to Santa Cruz I worked at the RC Chapter directly to their north… so i feel as if they should let me use this ad (Remember, visit www.sccredcross.org to nominate your hero).

Spring = Events and TV

It has been ever-so-long since we’ve updated our blog… but my spidey senses (blog stats) tell me that plenty of you have stopped by to see the new blog layout.  Hope you love it.

Here at the chapter, we have events coming out of our ears.  Check it out:

March 2 – Old and New Volunteer Open House (if you’ve been thinking about volunteering, this is your chance to ask all the questions you’ve never been able to ask – no obligation, we promise. Email volunteer@sccredcross.org for more info.)

March 7 – Red Cross Youth Dance @ Live Oak Grange Hall (email kradvanyi@sccredcross.org for info)

March 14 – Free CPR Saturday (Classes in Spanish still available!)

May 9 – the Human Race  – We’re starting a team this year!  You can Join us here.

May 20 – 4th Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards (We’re accepting nominations now!)

In addition to our many upcoming events, we  have some really awesome PSAs hitting the airwaves through the new-fangled magic of the television machine!  You can see our very first completed chapter PSA on our YouTube account.  Our not yet released series of PSAs should be hitting our YouTube and the airwaves (via KION, the CW, Nickelodeon, Food Network, TBS, Comedy Central, Animal Planet and ABC Family) sometime in March and will star 4 of our Youth Club Members.  I have to stay hush-hush about this… but i can tell you it involves animals and unfortunate situations… more to come…

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