by Amy Yen, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
Before they all put on red and white Red Cross vests, there were groups of yellow and black and purple shirts in the room where volunteers gathered for training before heading out into neighborhoods in south Dallas and Glenn Heights on Saturday, January 9, to talk to residents about tornado safety. Groups from Red Cross corporate partners Kroger, FedEx, Blue Cross Blue Shield, ACTIVE Network, State Farm and CarMax were among the 60 or so people who volunteered to brave the cold in an effort to make their fellow North Texans safer from future storms.
“We have a lot of customers and associates that were affected by the disaster, and this is one way we can show the community that we care and that we want to give back,” said Samantha Mason of Kroger, who is also taking donations for the Red Cross at registers in stores across North Texas to support disaster relief. Kroger is matching donations up to $25,000.
“We always want to support the Red Cross because you are the first to respond when disasters happen,” she added. “We have food and supplies that make us the perfect partner to work together with the Red Cross. We’re happy to show the community that we’re here for them today.”
Aaron Fennell and Joe Santelli of ACTIVE Network, a Dallas-based company that specializes in event management and online registration software, were part of a team that canvassed in south Dallas, going door-to-door to talk to residents about what to do in the event of a tornado.
“Some people weren’t sure why we were showing up at their door, but when we tell people why we’re here, they’ve been really welcome. Especially after what happened, people are going to hold on to this information,” said Joe.
“This one lady that was like, ‘Oh, I know, honey. I know exactly where to go,’” recounted Aaron with a smile. “So that was good to know that she knows, but it’s great to be able to provide this information to people who might not know otherwise.”
Like many other volunteers, Aaron was inspired to help after seeing the incredible damage from the December tornado outbreak on the news.
“It’s a very tragic incident and I wanted to give back. It’s a very humbling experience, because this could happen to anyone.”
LaMar Jones of CarMax enjoyed the experience, despite the cold. “Everybody we’ve talked to has been happy to talk to us. I’m glad we’re able to do something to try to prevent people from getting hurt next time and to keep people safe. It’s important to keep everyone informed,” he said.
During times of disaster, the Red Cross depends on its corporate partners to help us meet community needs. Thank you to all the volunteers from our partners who gave up their Saturday to make our community safer!
To learn about the many ways you can help, visit RedCross.org/Support.