Lack of volunteers hamper Luling Red Cross

Humanitarian group looking for workers

By Heather R. Breaux

March 25, 2009 at 8:43 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The American Red Cross office in Luling is understaffed and lacks volunteers, which has forced the agency to change their hours of operation.
Heather Breaux
The American Red Cross office in Luling is understaffed and lacks volunteers, which has forced the agency to change their hours of operation.
Education and volunteer recruiting are at the top of the American Red Cross’ to do list, especially for the organization’s Southeast Louisiana Chapter - which services 1.2 million people including St. Charles Parish.

Coming off of a month-long marketing campaign, the group is looking to boost awareness and volunteer recruitment in the area, says Matthew Eaton, spokesperson for the chapter.

“Technically, the American Red Cross office in Luling is open, however it’s not operating at regularly scheduled business hours because of lack of manpower,” he said.
Traditionally, the Maryland Drive center has been staffed by one full-time member who divides time between both the Luling and Thibodaux offices, with the assistance of several volunteers.

“We are currently in the process of hiring a new full-time staff member, which will allow the office to resume normal hours,” Eaton said. “The person who previously held that position resigned to take a job with FEMA.”

In an effort to recruit volunteers, the chapter will set up a booth at the Wal-Mart in Boutte on Saturday, April 4.
“Until a full-time position can be filled, volunteers will be scheduled to be in the office more frequently,” Eaton said. “It is our desire to fill the position a quickly as possible.”

Parish residents will benefit from a fully-operational Luling office during times of exceptional need, such as  when natural disasters or house fires strike.

Since 1987, local staff and volunteers have provided immediate assistance to people by giving them food, clothes, temporary lodging and rental assistance, bedding and linens, medication and medical device replacement, and mental health care.

“There is a Disaster Action Team that works out of the office and regularly responds to home fires and other disasters as they occur,” Eaton said. “In addition, the American Red Cross offers an array of classes that are available to the public, and recruiting volunteers will tremendously improve these services.”

In 2008, the Southeast Louisiana Chapter responded to 679 disasters, provided financial assistance to 789 families, helped 3,301 individuals, trained 40,105 people in health and safety issues, and taught 22,500 people about disaster prevention and preparedness.

“Volunteers and donations allow us to continue helping those in need each and every year,” said Eaton.

To volunteer, donate or receive current information about American Red Cross activities, call 1-800-229-8191 or visit www.arcno.org.




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