Guest post by the American Red Cross

American Red Cross volunteers load a truck full of cleaning kits that will be delivered to families affected by the wildfires
September 20, 2020. Silverton, Oregon. American Red Cross volunteers load a truck full of cleaning kits that will be delivered to families affected by the wildfires, near Silverton, Oregon. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

The past year has reminded all of us that no one is beyond the reach of disasters. Since August, the American Red Cross has helped people whose lives have been uprooted by massive back-to-back disasters— from destructive hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta, to historic wildfires igniting across California, Oregon, Washington and a catastrophic derecho that caused widespread destruction across the Midwest. The devastation wrought by these disasters has been further compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Through it all, Red Cross volunteers and employees have worked in countless ways to help disaster survivors, providing safe emergency lodging, hot meals, comfort and hope. In addition to major disasters, Red Cross volunteers have supported  “everyday” disasters, such as home fires, in communities across the country.

Since 2018, Delta Dental of California and its affiliates have been a member of our Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP), helping ensure that the Red Cross has trained volunteers, strong infrastructure and critical resources to respond quickly and compassionately to emergencies of all sizes when they happen.

Contributions from organizations like Delta Dental enables the Red Cross to respond to a disaster or countless other emergencies at a moment’s notice.

Our mission would not be possible without the time and talents of people willing to roll up their sleeves to help us meet the needs of the communities we serve. Volunteers are the heart of our work and support every imaginable crisis. In fact, more than 300,000 people volunteer with the Red Cross, accounting for a remarkable 90 percent of our workforce.

That’s why we were so honored to be the featured charitable partner of Delta Dental of California’s annual Month of Service this September, which was also National Preparedness Month. This past September, hundreds of employees from across the country participated in a meaningful mission engagement to help themselves and their communities become better prepared for emergencies.  Because of the pandemic, all activities were conducted virtually, which provided an opportunity to help engage remote workers and foster a sense of community.

Employees learned how to ready themselves and their families for disasters through Be Red Cross Ready disaster preparedness presentations, helped virtually map some of the world’s most vulnerable communities through the Missing Maps program and leveraged their social channels to help promote the ongoing need for blood with their friends and family. Employees also wrote cards expressing gratitude and encouragement to military veterans for distribution to local VA hospitals.

Additionally, for the month’s signature project, seven Delta Dental employees shared their time and expertise to help the Red Cross code existing systems to hide the user profiles of youth volunteers so they could access our intranet. Approximately 6% of Red Cross volunteers are under the age of 18 and couldn’t previously access this platform for online learning and information due to privacy concerns.

“We were so grateful to have the time and skills of these employees. From the first moment, they demonstrated talent, commitment and accountability to solving this problem for youth volunteers, who can now access mission-critical information on our Intranet in a safe and efficient manner,” said Matthew Cascio, Red Cross executive director, Fundraising and Marketing Cloud, who created and leads the organization’s Code4Good program that sponsored this activity. “We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this critical platform enhancement without Delta Dental volunteers.”

“Service is a core value at Delta Dental, and we find that employees across our enterprise take that core value to heart  to help their communities,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president of foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California and its affiliates. “We are honored to be a partner to the Red Cross and are deeply appreciative for their collaboration that gives our employees the chance to engage virtually.”

As the scope and scale of disasters continue to increase, it is more important than ever for the Red Cross to be resourced and ready and for people and communities to also be prepared.

Companies like Delta Dental of California and its affiliates bring much more than a philanthropic investment to the table. They bring the care, compassion and energies of their best assets – their employees. We simply couldn’t fulfill our mission without the support of our generous volunteers, community partners and donors.

As an organization of choice for volunteers, the Red Cross is so proud to be able to provide meaningful ways for individuals to engage with us and connect with our mission. If you would like to volunteer your time and talents, please visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to get started. Any amount of time you can give makes a difference. Virtual and in-person positions following social distancing protocols are available.