Want to help?
Anyone interested in donating or becoming a volunteer with the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross should call (770) 532-8453. More information can also be found online at www.redcross.org.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross spent many hours in 2012 helping others.
According to a release from the Northeast Georgia chapter, which includes Forsyth and 11 other counties, local volunteers responded to 137 incidents in the region and donated nearly $78,000.
Joni Smith, executive director of the local office, said those incidents included several in Forsyth.
Volunteers helped 10 local families here after house fires, she said, providing more than $7,000 for emergency shelter and clothing, among other forms of assistance.
“Locally, we respond to every fire where there’s a family or individual involved, so we’re trying to build up the Forsyth team,” Smith said. “We have two co-captains in Forsyth and they really want to build up the team.”
Northeast Georgia chapter volunteers also helped with national responses to disasters, such as spring tornadoes throughout the Southeast and Hurricane Sandy that struck the Northeast in late October.
“We had six local volunteers deployed to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief,” said Smith, noting they hailed from Flowery Branch, Clarkesville, Ball Ground, Dahlonega and Gainesville.
Throughout the U.S. in 2012, the Red Cross opened more than 900 shelters and provided more than 109,000 overnight stays to help people forced from their homes by disasters.
In total, more than 29,000 trained disaster workers served nearly 10 million meals and snacks and distributed nearly 7 million relief items.
Health and mental health workers provided more than 140,000 consultations to help people heal from disasters.
Smith said the local chapter is looking for new volunteers.
“We are always seeking volunteers for both disaster assistance and helping with our office in Cumming,” she said.
She would also like to find volunteers to help begin school club programs in Forsyth.
“We have several wonderful preparedness programs for youth,” Smith said. “Flowery Branch High School [in Hall County] has a large Red Cross Club that does numerous community service activities, and we are hoping to start at least one club in Forsyth.”
The Northeast Georgia chapter has been helping with local and national disasters since April 1917.
“We focus on disaster response, both local and national, along with service to the armed forces,” said Smith, noting that nearly 200 young men and women from Forsyth have enlisted in the past two years.
“And, of course, we focus on helping our community become better prepared for all types of incidents.”
Financial donations are also always needed to help local families in need, as well as those impacted by national disasters.