Red Cross streamlines local operations

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The American Red Cross has completed its reorganization plans that will reduce overhead costs and streamline operations while increasing programming and disaster response ability.

Jane Thrash, director of the American Red Cross branch office in Brundidge, said the reorganization was the result of recent major disasters and the downturn in the economy.

“We now have five Red Cross regions in Alabama making it possible to reduce overhead costs and streamline operations,” Thrash said. “At the same time, we will be able to increase programming and disaster response capacity through the sharing of resources.”

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Thrash said the reorganization will put much of the operation of the Red Cross back in the hands of volunteers.

“The American Red Cross was established in 1881 by Clara Barton and we all know the story of how Clara Barton went onto the battlefields of the Civil War to treat the wounded,” Thrash said. “The American Red Cross was founded as a volunteer organization and we are getting back to that.”

Thrash said under the Red Cross reorganization, 90 percent of the work will be done by volunteers.

“The Red Cross won’t have as many paid staff members so more money will be available for services,” she said. “With volunteers doing most of the work, the Red Cross will now be more ‘your Red Cross.’”

“That will not mean that our services will not be cut. Our services will remain the same but there will be more community involvement because the work will be done by volunteers instead of paid staff. What that means to us in Pike County is more volunteer opportunities.

Hand in hand with volunteerism is teamwork.

“Team work is the key to success with any organization and teamwork is what the Red Cross ‘family’ is all about,” Thrash said. “The goal of the Red Cross is that we all work together to provide the best services for all communities in times of need. “We need volunteers now more than ever to provide many different services. We need volunteers to do community awareness, to work blood drives registering donors and operating the canteens. We need volunteers to enter data into computers and the teach classes on disaster relief, to run our shelters and to work with Project Share, which is our utility assistance program for the elderly and disabled.”

Thrash said Pike and Barbour counties are partnering agencies that work together to provide assistance with different programs. The Department of Human Resources in Troy schedules volunteers five days at week at the Brundidge branch office.

“We have authorized providers that teach classes for us,” she said. “The Troy Recreation Department teaches life guarding and CPR. The Boy Scouts also teach CPR including wilderness CPR and first aid.”

The reorganization of the American Red Cross has opened wide the door for many volunteer opportunities and the need is great.

“Right now, we need volunteers to step forward and assist the Red Cross as we return to the spirit in which it was organized,” Thrash said. “Volunteerism is its own reward and we invite the community to get involved and encourage everyone to become a Red Cross volunteer.”

For more information or to request a volunteer application, call Tori Johns at 334-536-0632.