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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and resources

As we all continue to navigate these uncertain times, the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas are dedicated to providing you with important information and to provide you with trusted resources for you and your families.

We continue to closely monitor the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and are prepared to carry out our lifesaving mission in the event of any possible disruptions.

We will continue to work with U.S. officials and partners to determine what support may be needed in the coming days and weeks as the situation continues to evolve. In particular, we will continue to collaborate with AABB, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply for patients in need.


Local resources

If you need help with food or other resources during the quarantine, you can visit:

2-1-1: Texas Health and Human Services
United Way

*Your child’s local school district may offer mobile feeding that could benefit your family during this stressful time.


Stay informed with trusted resources

During these uncertain times, it is important to get information from reputable sources. Here is a link to reliable sources to receive the most up-to-date information.


What you can do

Right now, it is important to adhere to the rules set forth by your local governmental agencies. Social distancing and staying home may be difficult, but it is an important way for you to help stop the spread of the virus.

We know people are experiencing emotions ranging from fear and anger to confusion and disbelief because of the evolving situation with the Coronavirus. Here are tips to help you and your loved ones cope during this stressful time. https://rdcrss.org/2QmfQ92

How parents and other adults react to this situation around children is important to their mental health during this time. Words matter. Here is some guidance on how to talk to kids about the Coronavirus crisis  https://rdcrss.org/2WyHV13

Here are some helpful tips to follow if you or someone you care for is sick: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2020/what-you-should-do-if-caring-for-someone-with-coronavirus.html


How you can help

Finally, if you would like to help, here are a couple things you can do to help:

  • DONATE BLOOD- We are in dire need of blood and our national supplies are running low. Without blood, we are not able to help support ALL of the hospitals that URGENTLY NEED blood during this hectic and chaotic time. To learn more you can visit: Redcross.org/blood to find a local facility near you.
  • Donating to the cause: Your financial support is what drives the ability for all resources to be best utilized during these uncertain times.

Remember, that we are in this together. We know that these can be scary and uncertain times, but by following guidelines and taking care of yourself and those you care for we will get through this.

Featured

American Red Cross Serving Central Texas February 2020 Disaster Response

In February, the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas responded to 163 calls for assistance and assisted 405 people across the Central and South Texas Region. Volunteers met with individuals affected by disasters to assess their immediate needs and provide resources for their long term physical and emotional recovery.

More information about American Red Cross service delivery in the Central and South Texas Region is available at https://www.redcross.org/local/texas/central-and-south-texas.html

Or follow us on social media at:
Facebook www.facebook.com/RedCrossCSTR
Twitter at www.twitter.com/redcrosscstr
Instagram www.instagram.com/redcrosscstr

Breakdown of service by Chapter service area:

Central Texas: There were 43 calls for help with 95 people receiving Red Cross support. The Red Cross Serving Central Texas serves Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Milam, Travis, and Williamson counties.

Heart of Texas: There were 36 calls for help with 98 people receiving Red Cross support. The Red Cross Serving the Heart of Texas supports Bell, Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Grimes, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Leon, Limestone, McLennan, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties.

Hill Country: There were nine calls for help with 30 people receiving Red Cross support. The Red Cross Serving the Texas Hill Country chapter supports Bandera, Blanco, Crockett, Edwards, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Llano, Mason, Maverick, Medina, Menard, Real, Sutton, Uvalde, and Val Verde counties.

Permian Basin: There were 13 calls for help with 43 people receiving Red Cross support. The Red Cross Serving Permian Basin supports Andrews, Borden, Brewster, Crane, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Sterling, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler counties.

Greater San Antonio:  There were 60 calls for help with 139 people receiving Red Cross Support. The Red Cross Serving Greater San Antonio supports Atascosa, Bexar, Comal, Dimmit, Frio, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, LaSalle, Webb, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties.

In each case, families and individuals were given financial resources for a place to stay, clothes, food and medicine, as needed.  If needed, health and mental health services are provided. Along with providing casework for the residents in a quick and efficient time frame. In addition, volunteers provide follow-up calls to assist individuals on a clear path to recovery. Today, as throughout our long history, the American Red Cross depends on generous contributions of time, blood, and money to support our lifesaving services and programs. Donate, or sign up to volunteer at redcross.org.

Volunteer of the Quarter – Demond George

Volunteers with the American Red Cross all have various motivations to give their time to prevent and alleviate human suffering. For someone like longtime volunteer Demond George, his motivations are nothing but inspiring to others.

Having been forced to evacuate due to the disastrous Hurricane Katrina storms in 2005, Demond found his way to San Antonio and back to the American Red Cross, this time as a volunteer giving his time to help others affected by disasters.

“Demond is one of those volunteers that brings everyone together, and his positive attitude is contagious to all,” Disaster Program Manager, Tracy Beach, who serves as Demond’s primary volunteer manager said very candidly, “I don’t know where the San Antonio office would be without him. He is the glue that keeps us all connected and serves as a bridge between departments, communities and clients.”

Of all the things Demond does as part of his volunteer work, he says driving the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) is his favorite as it usually lets him do what he loves the most about volunteering: getting the chance to help clients rebuild. Demond’s gentle and caring persona allows him to connect both with community partners and clients alike building relationships that are essential to Red Cross success. As Tracy adds, “His work in the community shows how we need volunteers of all backgrounds and walks of life to help us achieve our goal of helping as many people as possible.”

Citing former President Barack Obama as someone he looks up to, Demond shares that’s why the Red Cross is the place for him. “We do what we need to help people,” Demond said. “President Obama stands up for what is right, and that’s what we do too. We find a way to get to ‘yes’ to help people.”

Just as President Obama serves as an inspiration for Demond, Demond does the same for many other volunteers. “Other volunteers see how cross-functional he is across all departments, and they are inspired to do the same,” Tracy shared. “From washing cars and responding to home-fire calls to building comfort kits and supporting other lines of business, Demond motivates others to get out of their comfort zone and try new opportunities.”

In the next 10 years, Demond hopes to continue serving the Red Cross mission in the community but also could become our next YouTube viral sensation showing off his hidden talents and connecting with individuals all over the world. Even his goals of becoming a YouTube sensation is founded in the hopes of having a platform to do good, and for as long as Demond is a Red Cross volunteer, we will continue to thrive as an organization serving vulnerable communities.

Congratulations to Demond for winning Volunteer of the Quarter after being nominated by several individuals across multiple lines of business in the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas Region!

American Red Cross and American Cancer Society partner to inspire people to help patients and Give Blood to Give Time

Patients fighting cancer need more blood than patients fighting any other disease, using nearly one-quarter of the nation’s blood supply. That’s why this February, the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to encourage people across the country to Give Blood to Give Time, ensuring loved ones have the strength and support to battle cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. An estimated 129,770 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Texas this year. Many of these people will likely have a need for blood.

“A loved one’s cancer diagnosis often makes families and friends feel helpless. That’s why the Give Blood to Give Time partnership with the American Cancer Society is so important,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross. “When someone donates blood or platelets or makes a financial gift, they are helping to give patients and their families time, resources and the hope they need to fight back.”

To schedule a blood donation appointment or make a financial gift, visit GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.

Some types of chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, reducing red blood cell and platelet production. Other times, the cancer itself or surgical procedures cause the problem. Blood products are often needed. In fact, five units of blood are needed every minute to help someone going through cancer treatment. Yet only 3% of people in the United States give blood. More people are needed to donate regularly to help meet the need.

“The need for blood in cancer treatments is an important and untold story,” said Gary Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “The American Cancer Society is excited to be working with the Red Cross on Give Blood to Give Time. Through this partnership, we want people to know there are multiple ways they can help and make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and their families.”

Individuals can honor their loved ones by making a blood donation appointment or financial contribution at GiveBloodToGiveTime.org.

Who donations help

 In March 2017, Celisa Alston’s cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock. Her treatment included 12 chemotherapy rounds and a blood transfusion. In remission since 2018, Celisa continues to enjoy being a mom of two and her work as Red Cross Volunteer Intake Processing Center divisional manager.

 “It’s hard to believe it’s almost been three years,” Alston said. “I’m thankful blood was available when I needed it and really grateful to be healthy and looking forward to watching my son graduate from high school this spring.”

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Travis County

Austin, TX
February 20, 2020
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Student Activity Center (SAC), 2201 Speedway


Williamson County

Cedar Park, TX
February 15, 2020
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of Austin, 2509 West New Hope Drive

Thrall, TX
February 19, 2020
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thrall High School, 601 S BOUNDS ST

Brazos County

College Station, TX
February 16, 2020
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
TAMU Squadron Six, 777 Military Mall

Grimes County

Navasota, TX
February, 11, 2020
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church, 616 Holland

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How to donate blood

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.

Volunteers Receive Supervisory Training Ahead of Storm Season

On January 10, 2020 through January 12, seventy staff and volunteers from the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas Region received supervisory disaster training. This training is designed to instruct future leaders in disaster relief operations in the Central and South Texas region and across the nation. This is one way the Red Cross fulfills its mission of preparing communities for disasters. Below, hear from one of our volunteers who participated in the weekend long training.


Written by Chris Conn
American Red Cross Volunteer

Ordo ex Chao, this is the slogan for the US Coast Guard’s Incident Management System. It’s Latin for “Order from Chaos” and I often think how well this slogan relates to all things Red Cross. From local disasters such as a home fire where the Disaster Action Team (DAT) members rush to assist a family who just lost everything, to large national disasters where thousands of volunteers deploy to help their fellow Americans. Red Cross volunteers are ready to go at a moment’s notice, but we don’t start off this way. Hours and hours of training combined with the experience of volunteers who have been there in the time of need lead us to continue our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Over the weekend of January 10 – 12 I joined seventy other volunteers as we embarked on the Red Cross Central and South Texas Region’s (CSTR) first Supervisor Academy in recent years. The impact of having so many volunteers ready to step into a supervisory role during disasters will have a tremendous impact on the delivery of the Red Cross mission during disaster relief operations (DR or DRO). These are volunteers who are ready to shoulder the responsibility of setting up a mass care shelter, lead our mental health and disaster health teams and are prepared to help our communities when the time comes.

Andrew Lopez Reginal Disaster Officer for the Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas Region (CSTR), organized this training realizing the long-term benefits that having seventy trained and willing volunteer supervisors will have on future DROs not only in our region, but others as well should the need arise. “My belief is that if we have a regular gathering of key and upcoming leaders, we will build shared values and commitments to each other which will enhance our personal experience and strengthen the consistent success of CSTR,” Lopez said.

The supervisor academy took place in San Antonio, Texas and entailed an vast amount of training. Within the weekend we covered lengthy topics such as Concept of Operations, Shelter Fundamentals, Supervising the Disaster Workforce, DAT Fundamentals, and even courses that involve responding to events with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). As a volunteer myself, it was incredible to see so many people engaged and actively learning about how to further themselves and help the Red Cross.

As we approach storm season, followed by hurricane season, we’ll be ready for the inevitable. Storms will strike, hurricanes will make landfall, and homes will catch fire. As much as we don’t enjoy the aftermath of these disasters, we are trained, and we are Red Cross ready. We will do what we’ve been doing and what we always do. Respond with passion, respond with empathy, respond with care, and most importantly, respond with experience.

Red Cross Responds to Multiple Incidents of Damage Over Weekend – Opens Shelter for Displaced Residents

On January, 10, 2020 a line of storms made their way across Central and South Texas. High winds from the storm caused power outages, knocked over trees and created other damages along its path. Volunteers from the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas immediately responded to assist residents affected and displaced by the storm. In the dark of night, and the following day, volunteers drove through neighborhoods and met with residents to assess their immediate needs.

In total, the Red Cross responded to 13 incidents of damage to homes across the region and opened a shelter for displaced residents in Navasota, TX located at The Navasota Center, 101 Stadium Drive, Navasota, TX, 77868.

“Storms like these can be very damaging and I am so grateful for the efforts of our staff and volunteers,” said Marty McKellips, Regional Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas Region. “They were able to respond quickly to provide immediate assistance and comfort to those affected by the storms.”

Volunteers throughout the region continued to provide services by assisting residents affected by a large apartment fire in Austin, TX and providing canteen services to first responders after a chemical fire in Odessa, TX.

If you are in need of assistance after a disaster, please call 1-800-REDCROSS.

The work of our committed volunteers and services to residents affected by disasters is made possible through the generosity of donors.

Click here to donate and support your local Red Cross, and here to learn more about being a volunteer.

Marty’s Mission Moments – 2019

Hello, my name is Marty McKellips and I am the Regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Central and South Texas Region. It is my honor to present to you my first edition of “Marty’s Mission Moments.” Each month, I will highlight the amazing work and dedication to our mission performed by staff and volunteers across our region.

As we begin the New Year, please take a moment to look back at the services our region provided to our communities across the 80 counties we serve.

I am so proud of the time and dedication our staff and volunteers give to providing these vital services to disaster affected communities and to our military service members. Without their commitment and the generosity of our donors, these services simply wouldn’t exist.

As we head into the new year, I would like to ask for your continued support of the American Red Cross by resolving to dedicate your time, talent or treasure to our humanitarian mission. We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you for your support, and I wish you all a happy new year!

Sincerely,

Marty McKellips