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Red Cross Volunteers Answer Call To Assist

In a record year of disasters that upended lives across the country, thousands of people answered the call to help through the American Red Cross.

Through it all this year, Red Cross volunteers provided shelter, food, emotional support and financial assistance for families in need. During the holiday season, many have been on the ground delivering relief in hard-hit places like Hawaii and Florida, where families remained displaced from their homes, or they were responding to other crises like home fires, which comprise most of the 60,000-plus disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually in the U.S.

Volunteers — who account for 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce — are critical to ensuring families receive care and hope in the face of more frequent and intense disasters. In fact, the annual number of extreme weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each has increased by 80 percent over the past decade.


The Year In Numbers

From coast to coast, the climate crisis took a devastating toll in 2023, sparking a record number of major disasters—many of which had a disproportionate impact on those already coping with vulnerable circumstances. From hurricanes to wildfires, atmospheric rivers to tornadoes, and other disasters of all kinds, Red Cross in Northern California was there to:

Serve more than 95,000 meals and 108,000 snacks with partners.

Distribute $1.36 million in financial assistance to hundreds of people affected by local disasters.

Provide more than 32,800 overnight shelter and emergency hotel stays with partners.

Provide more than 44,600 relief supplies to over 16,800 households.


Volunteers: Heart And Soul

Here are some stories sharing how volunteers have made a difference for communities reeling from this year’s disasters.

From Training to Deploying: Farshad Fallah signed up to volunteer with the Red Cross in August 2023. In September, after attending a one-day cram session that the Disaster Cycle Services team offered in San Jose, he deployed to Maui, to help those affected by the devastating wildfires. A couple weeks into his deployment, Farshad was sent to work alongside other organizations, including FEMA and the Salvation Army, at the Lahaina Civic Center. He described this as a very humbling experience.  He did not expect to have a Red Cross adventure so soon after he completed that volunteer application in August but said he is grateful he took advantage of the opportunity.

Six Lives Saved: The smoke alarms installed by Red Cross volunteers in Marie Monthier’s home after a Sound the Alarm installation event in Marin County saved her and five other family members from a home fire. The Red Cross role in home fire response does not end with smoke alarms. When firefighters on scene at the Monthier home reached out to the Red Cross for help, volunteers Kay Tsenin and Jody Wilson were on site within the hour.

Displaced by Storms: The Galvan Alvarez family was sound asleep in their South San Francisco apartment in the early hours of Jan. 10 when they were jolted awake as the entire roof blew off their apartment building. The family called the fire department, which quickly responded and referred them to the nearby Red Cross shelter that had been opened to provide refuge from the storm for all who needed it. The family arrived at about 4 a.m. and were provided supplies, such as diapers, food and toiletries, and cots. In the morning they had warm showers and breakfast.


How To Help

The lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross wouldn’t be possible without generous volunteers and donors. Turn your compassion into action by donating at A donation of any size makes a difference. You can also register to become a volunteer at

Corporate, foundation and organizational members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder Program pledge essential contributions in advance of disasters, powering our organization with strong infrastructure, trained volunteers, innovative technology and critical resources necessary to provide immediate relief and support to those in crisis. This support also means we can stand with survivors and their communities as they begin to recover, and help families and communities become better prepared and more resilient ahead of the next disaster.

Annual Disaster Giving Program Partners: Delta Dental,, Kaiser Permanente, PayPal, Salesforce, The Clorox Company, Visa and Visa Foundation, Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program Partners: Adobe, Cisco Foundation, HP Foundation, Rodan+Fields Prescription for Change Project, Ross Stores Foundation, ServiceNow.

For more information, visit or, or visit them on Twitter at @RedCross.