American Red Cross partners with United Way to set up satellite office
The American Red Cross set up a satellite office in Greene County, thanks to a contribution of office space from the Greene County United Way. Standing in front of the Red Cross emergency response van Wednesday are Red Cross volunteers Rosemary Yandura and Kaitlyn White; Betsy Myers, Red Cross regional disaster response specialist; Barbara Wise, United Way executive director and Red Cross volunteer; Hayley Finley, United Way executive assistant and Red Cross volunteers Mike Yandura and Mark Carlson.
Bob Niedbala / Observer-Reporter
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WAYNESBURG – The American Red Cross will now have a greater presence in Greene County, thanks to an increase in volunteers and the contribution of office space from the Greene County United Way.
The organization, which has seen a resurgence in interest from people in the county who would like to volunteer, has opened a satellite office at the United Way office at 748 E. High St., Waynesburg.
“We have a new office and new focus,” said Betsy Myers, disaster response specialist for the Western Pennsylvania Region of the American Red Cross.
The United Way’s “gift” to the Red Cross includes space within its building without charge for Red Cross volunteers to meet with families impacted by disasters, as well as to conduct response and preparedness training and to hold team meetings, she said.
“It’s a good partnership for us,” Myers said. Both Barbara Wise, United Way executive director, and Hayley Finley, executive assistant, have become Red Cross volunteers. A Red Cross emergency response van is now stationed at the Waynesburg satellite office.
“We’re really excited about this,” Wise said. “We hope to raise awareness in the community that we now have the facilities and supplies so when there is a disaster we can respond immediately.”
The Red Cross closed its previous office in Greene County about five years ago as a result of decreased funding. At the time, county chapters were reorganized and Greene County was included in the Southwest Pennsylvania Chapter with Allegheny, Washington and Fayette counties.
Greene County continued to be served by the regional chapter, though it had no local office, Myers said. Recently, she said, the organization has begun to see an increase in interest from people who would like to volunteer.
“We’ve seen a rise in interest in Greene County from those who want to serve within the county,” Myers said. In the last six months, the organization has gained six to 10 new volunteers who will compliment volunteers who now man the local emergency shelters.
Red Cross staff, during the last few months, also has been meeting with Greene County officials to develop a disaster plan and establish protocols to activate local teams, she said.
Red Cross teams respond during local emergencies such as fires and floods. During the past year, teams responded to four house fires in the county to provide emergency food, lodging, clothing, medical supplies and emotional support.
The organization also sets up emergency shelters during floods and other weather events. Several Greene County volunteers,have joined Red Cross teams that have been deployed during recent national disasters.
The Red Cross and United Way plan to hold an open house at the new Red Cross satellite office on March 26.
Myers said volunteers are always needed to help build the organization’s ranks for its local disaster action teams and shelter teams and for community outreach efforts. Those who would like to become involved can call 412-263-3100 or 1-888-217-9599.