by Sarah Thomack/St. Joseph Post staff
Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work that the American Red Cross does, according to the organization.
Peggy Gaines has been a Red Cross volunteer for 12 years. Gaines says the Northwest Missouri Chapter is especially in need of Disaster Action Team volunteers.
“People that will respond, day or night, to go and help families who have been through a disaster. It might be a home fire, any reason that a family is out of their home," Gaines tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. "Once you see a family go through this, you feel very fortunate to have what you have and if you can offer hope to those people, even if it's just holding their hand or giving them a hug or saying, 'We are going to help you,' and then we can do that, that means everything to that family."
Gaines says since December 1st, she's been a part of the response team to at least seven home fires just in St. Joseph. According to the Red Cross, there have been 15 fatal fires in the state of Missouri from November through January. In the Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri area, the Red Cross has responded to 11 fatality fires since July 1st.
They urge residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms and a fire safety plan. The Red Cross offers free smoke alarms for anyone who needs them and volunteers can help install them.
For more information on the Red Cross and about being a Disaster Action Team volunteer, anyone may attend one of the upcoming informational open houses at the St. Joseph Red Cross office, 401 N. 12th Street:
- 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18th
-10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21st
-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10th
For more information, call the Northwest Missouri office at (816) 232-8439 or Carina Kagan at (314) 356-5725.