Thursday, December 29, 2016

a Day at the Red Cross office in Lubbock

This weeks post is a photographic reflection by volunteer photographer Nabi Kamyabi. We hope you enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $2,400

Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $2,400 to American Red Cross. The donation will go toward supporting the Financial Assistance we provide to Home Fire victims.

”We are not a government funded organization, our ability to help hundreds of families who have home fires each year in the Texas South Plains is dependent on donations such as this. I am incredibly grateful to have ADM as one of our partners ” said Laura Hann, Executive Director from American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

The donation was given through ADM Cares. ADM Cares is a social investment program that directs funds to initiatives and organizations that drive meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The program comprises three distinct focus areas: supporting the responsible development of agriculture, improving the quality of life in ADM communities and fostering employee giving and volunteer activities.

Monday, December 5, 2016

When Texas Was at the Bottom of the Sea - A new Red Cross volunteers reflections

If volunteering is to be viewed as a sacrifice for one’s community, volunteering with the Red Cross may be spoiling me. I have been volunteering with the Red Cross for just over a month now, and the relationships and opportunities I have found here have made it more of a pleasure to volunteer than a sacrifice.

Growing up in Lubbock, it has always been a little difficult to feel connected with the outside world. As the 2015 Smithsonian Magazine article, “When Texas Was at the Bottom of the Sea” shows, Lubbock used to be an ocean bed of a vast and expansive ocean. Today it is still easy to look out over the grand vistas of farms and prairies and be overtaken by the same feeling of vastness as if looking out over the sea. After all, we are hundreds of miles away from Texas’ large cities (sorry Amarillo!) and thousands of miles away from the countries that are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Growing up on the edge of Lubbock, it has always been easy to feel far away from the rest of the world.

I have only been with the Red Cross for a month now, but the opportunities and the world-wide actions the Red Cross provides has been incredibly inspiring. For example, the International Committee of the Red Cross is currently sheltering 20,000 refugees from Aleppo, Syria ( In Senegal, Senegalese Red Cross volunteers just finished another distribution of food vouchers to communities afflicted by low rainfall rates. ( To be apart of such an organization, even if I am thousands of miles away, is an honor in itself.

            Not only is it an honor to be apart of an organization that is capable of extending such humanitarian aid, but the American Red Cross also provides opportunities to learn and grow as a volunteer. It was to my complete surprise that the Red Cross has an extensive online education program, capable of training me to become more skilled in plenty of different skill sets, including logistics, disaster services, finances and communications. This has been a huge help for me – as a college senior, the only things I feel truly skilled at doing are studying and power-napping, neither of which are particularly useful in the world of disaster response and aid. In these days of expensive higher education, the importance of free training for curious volunteers cannot be overstated. In my time volunteering in Lubbock there have been few opportunities to grow while serving a community, and I am exciting to have the opportunity.

            It is obvious I still have a long way to go before I can help the villages of Senegal or aid refugees in Syria. My foreign language studies have a long way to go, (Je voudrai visiter le Sénégal bientôt, mais les francophones parlent très rapidement. Mais, j’essaie.), my Disaster Response training is just shy of being completed and my graduation in May I will be faced with paying off college debt.

            Yet though I am far away, the Red Cross is allowing me to serve my community while continuing to grow. This is what brings me back each week, and why I considered myself spoiled. Even if the only way I can help currently is making phone calls to ask for donations and cleaning supply closets, I feel much closer to the outside world than before.

Guest Blogger Jerrod Miller

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Red Cross Says Turn and Test: Turn Back Clocks and Test Smoke Alarms

[Lubbock, Tx][Tuesday], [November 11 2016]  — Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 6 and the American Red Cross reminds everyone to ‘turn’ their clocks back an hour and ‘test’ the batteries in their smoke alarms. The Red Cross recommends that all South Plains area residents have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, including inside and outside bedrooms.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Laura Hann, Executive Director of the American Red Cross serving the Texas South Plains. “Turn and test is a reminder to set your clocks back and take a few minutes to push the test button to make sure all alarms are working.”

Hand pressing the test button on smoke alarm

It’s also an opportunity to make sure all households are prepared for home fires and other emergencies:
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes. Select a location outside for everyone to meet.
  • Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate. A variety of emergency preparedness kits and supplies are available at
  • Download the Red Cross Emergency App which includes content on how to prevent home fires and what to do if one occurs. The Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App is a game designed for kids. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN The Red Cross responds to 66,000 disasters across the country every year and most of these are home fires. Tragically, some people lose their lives in these fires and countless others are injured. The Red Cross has launched the Home Fire Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years.
Since October of 2014, the Red Cross and partners have saved more than 110 lives as part of the Home Fire Campaign. The Red Cross is committing to install 2.5 million free smoke alarms in neighborhoods at high risk for fires, and to educate those residents about fire prevention and preparedness during the multi-year campaign.
Since the Home Fire campaign began, more than 530,000 smoke alarms have been installed in all 50 states and four territories, and it has reached more than 597,000 children through campaign youth preparedness education programs, such as The Pillowcase Project.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from a fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just Another Saturday Morning

Just Another Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning at 8 a.m. I joined more than fifty Lubbock residents to participate in the Lubbock American Red Cross Smoke Alarm Installation Project.  We met first in the Lubbock High School cafeteria, where we were welcomed with a large buffet of baked goods and coffee donated by a local business, accompanied by sounds of the LHS Band rehearsing in the parking lot next door.

I chose to sit nearer the front at a table with 3 others, one of whom I learned was a new graduate student at TTU.  Following introductions, acknowledgements (LIA was recognized), and the power point orientation, we broke into Teams of 2 to begin our morning of installations.  The Teams with prior experience exited the cafeteria first – and that left all of 2 of us remaining, the TTU student and me!  So after picking up our supplies we joined Richard Alires’ experienced Team for the first appointment, and then we were on our own.  “He” took care of the installations, “She” took care of the paperwork.

Over the next 2+ hours we met four more families, installing 2-3 detectors in each home and providing guidelines on how to prevent fires and how to respond to the alarms.  And we talked.

We talked about dogs and their value as the ‘someone’s in the yard’ alarm.  We talked about families, children, and grandchildren.  We talked about people’s military service.  We talked about health concerns and disabilities.  We talked about our futures.  We learned about a young man’s fond memories of his high school English and history classes, and watched his eyes light up when he considered going back to school.  We talked with a high school student who shared his love of art and wanted us to see his sketchbook.  We learned how a Vietnam veteran lost his hearing when the bullet entered the back of his head and exploded in his eardrum.  And each time we said good-bye it was with warm handshakes and even warmer hugs.

Before we neared the end of the morning it was beautifully clear.  The Smoke Alarms were simply the vehicle.  They were the vehicle for the larger purpose of human beings connecting once again, sharing the everyday and the intimate, with affection and respect, knowing we are part of one human family.  The morning was a privilege and a gift.

And when “He” and “She” parted?  We agreed – we are already signed on for the Smoke Alarm Installation Project in 2017.  But between time?  We promised to email soon and meet at Starbucks next week!

Submitted by a guest writer S.M.

Monday, October 3, 2016

INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Matthew, International and Domestic Readiness October 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM ET

INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Matthew, International and Domestic Readiness
October 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM ET

Hurricane Matthew is less than 24 hours from delivering a potentially catastrophic strike on Haiti, and will also impact parts of Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas before making expected landfall in parts of the United States later this week. It is a slow moving storm, making it particularly dangerous as affected areas will be exposed to high winds and rain for extended periods of time. Over a foot of rainfall may trigger life-threatening conditions. Haiti in particular is at risk of catastrophic mudslides and flash flooding due to deforestation.  

Projected Storm Path:
Haiti/Dominican Republic: Late Monday / Tuesday
Jamaica: Late Monday / Tuesday
Eastern Cuba: Tuesday / Tuesday night
Southeast & central Bahamas / Turks & Caicos: Tuesday afternoon into at least Wednesday night

Internationally, National Red Cross Societies across the Caribbean and central America are ramping up preparedness measures as Hurricane Matthew approaches Jamaica and Haiti. 

“Our Red Cross teams in Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia are currently running preparedness activities with the communities. Our volunteers and staff stand ready to respond immediately to the needs”, said Walter Cotte, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) regional director for the Americas.

In Jamaica, the Jamaican Red Cross has prepositioned blankets for over 1,000 families, kitchen kits for over 1,000 families and cleaning kits for 300 families.

The Red Cross of the Dominican Republic has prepositioned stocks for approximately 2,500 people. 

The National Society has 21 water treatment plants at its disposal. Water and sanitation teams as well as psychological support and health teams are on standby.

In Haiti, the Haitian Red Cross has put all its branches on alert and prepositioned stock to respond to the needs of more than 3,000 people.

The American Red Cross is collaborating with local national societies and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to help build preparedness and response capacity.

The American Red Cross has a delegation in Haiti, comprised of approximately 200 Haitian nationals, which is supporting the Haitian Red Cross with preparedness activities.

Three ongoing programs in Haiti have been working to strengthen communities’ disaster preparedness in anticipate of events like this hurricane.

The American Red Cross also has a strong presence in the Caribbean with programs that focus on disaster risk reduction, including activities to train local disaster response teams, map evacuation routes, and develop early warning systems.

The American Red Cross in the U.S. is in close communication with at-risk and impacted Red Cross societies throughout the Caribbean to provide support.

The American Red Cross is providing Information Management and Geographic Information Systems (IM/GIS) support remotely for Hurricane Matthew. This includes the production of maps of Haiti to illustrate which zones are most susceptible to floods and landslides.

For those concerned about loved ones outside the United States: The best way to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444. Those searching for non-U.S. citizen family members can contact the American Red Cross Restoring Family Links unit at

Domestically, the American Red Cross is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Matthew and its potential to affect the U.S. later this week.

Disaster teams are assessing supplies, equipment and availability of volunteers in case a response is needed.

Red Cross workers are also coordinating with government officials and partner organizations to finalize potential response plans and share information.

Over the weekend, the Red Cross worked closely with the military leadership at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help members of the military and their families prepare for the impending storm. In case of an emergency, military families should call 877-272-7337 or go to

Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly.

Annual Disaster Giving Program and Disaster Responder
Through the generosity of our American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder members, the American Red Cross is prepared before disaster strikes. ADGP and Disaster Responder members help secure a reliable funding base for disaster relief services that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately, meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster, regardless of cost.

Right now the Red Cross is on the ground and taking action with the support of our ADGP and Disaster Responder partners.

Current ADGP $1M members are:
American Airlines
Anheuser-Busch Foundation
Anthem Foundation
Boise Paper
Caterpillar Foundation  
Costco Wholesale
Delta Airlines   
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation
Humble Bundle
LDS Charities
Lowe's Companies, Inc.
Mazda North American Operations
Merck Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
State Farm
VSP Vision care for life
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation
The Wawa Foundation

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Red Cross Hero Care Mobile App

The American Red Cross has a long history of supporting military members, veterans and their families. Now, the Red Cross has launched a new, free Hero Care App to provide instant access to vital Red Cross services anywhere in the world. Whether you’re the parent of a child joining the military, a military member, spouse or a veteran, the app will guide you to valuable resources and services that can help alleviate stress and provide important information right at your fingertips. The Hero Care App highlights the extensive array of services the Red Cross has available for members of the military, veterans and their families.

 •Some the important features of the app include:
o Request Red Cross emergency services including an emergency message or assistance with emergency travel or emergency financial aid.
o Securely and easily access information about their service member in the case of an emergency, including updated information as they move or change duty assignments.
o Access non-emergency Red Cross behavioral health assistance including financial assistance and free local workshops for military kids and spouses.
o Find local resources and information provided by trusted community partners like Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, United Way, Goodwill, Easter Seals, and others.
o Locate information on key government resources such as MilitaryOneSource, VA Benefits and Services, Department of Labor VETS, the VA Caregiver Support Program, and SAMSHA Community Health Support Services.

  • Users can also connect with other Red Cross apps including the Emergency, First Aid and Blood apps.

 • Information in the app is available in both English and Spanish and a user can even use the app to share their own Red Cross stories and photos The Hero Care App is free of charge and available for both iOS and Android devices.

• To download to your smart phone or tablet, search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store, text GETHEROCARE to 90999 to receive a link to download the app or go to

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Red Cross Begins Casework and Limited Financial Assistance for People in Louisiana

September 03, 2016

Register online at or call (855) 224-2490
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 3, 2016 — The American Red Cross is beginning recovery casework to help connect Louisiana flood survivors with the services and resources that will help them to get back on their feet. For those who qualify, the Red Cross will also provide limited financial assistance of $125 per person (example: family of four = $500).
This recovery support begins even as Red Cross volunteers continue to operate shelters, serve meals and distribute critical relief supplies across much of Louisiana--support that will continue for the coming weeks.
“People in Louisiana are ready to take the next step, to try to get back to a normal life, to have a home again instead of staying in a shelter,” said Joshua Joachim, regional executive for the Louisiana Red Cross Region. “We encourage those affected to register immediately with FEMA for federal disaster assistance, which can be substantial. In addition, the Red Cross will make available trained caseworkers to help people locate other services and resources, and, if they qualify, limited financial assistance for immediate needs.”
“Red Cross financial assistance will be available to help those who don’t qualify for federal disaster assistance and who have had major damage to their homes,” said Harvey Johnson, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “We believe this is the fastest, most efficient way to get a small amount of money into the hands of people who can then make decisions about what is best for their families. Plus, spending these funds here in Louisiana will also allow local communities to begin to recover from the economic loss the flooding caused.”
Red Cross assistance will be available to those who meet both of the following criteria:
1) They do not qualify for federal disaster assistance
2) They have had major damage or their home has been destroyed
People who may be eligible for Red Cross financial assistance should register online or call 855-224-2490. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or require accessible communications may text 571-422-1144. If someone is still in a shelter, Red Cross workers will help with their registration. After someone registers, the Red Cross will contact them within 48 to 72 hours.
Caseworkers will verify the person’s identity, the number of people in the household, cross-check the person’s information with federal registration records and validate the flooding damage to their home.
If qualified, people will be eligible for $125 per person to support recovery efforts. For example, a family of four will receive $500. For those who do not qualify for financial assistance, Red Cross caseworkers can still help to create recovery plans and locate assistance from other agencies.
The Red Cross recognizes that each family and each community will have different needs and require different support. Red Cross financial assistance can help families begin their recovery by providing funds which can be used for such needs as an apartment deposit, to buy clothes or food, or to cover immediate transportation expenses.
“This historic flooding caused a wide range of needs, more than any one organization can meet on their own,” Joachim stated. “The Red Cross is only one part of the broader network of both government and community agencies helping Louisianans to recover. While we can’t meet every need, we can work with our partners to ensure that we do our part to keep people safe and comfortable during these trying times.”
The Red Cross casework and financial assistance is in addition to the round-the-clock disaster support volunteers have been providing since the flooding began. As of Saturday, September 3, the Red Cross and our partners have:
Served more than 857,000 meals and snacks
Distributed more than 541,000 relief items
Provided more than 68,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters
Handled more than 31,000 calls from people seeking help
Provided nearly 29,000 health services and emotional support contacts
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Volunteers Recognized for Selfless Service in the South Plains

Volunteering is tough. I don’t necessarily feel selfish when I say that; Like many people who have to balance work, school, family and friends, the thought of giving what little of my time that is left away seems like a terrifying idea. Being as neurotic as I am, I’ve actually counted out the hours in my weekly routine and, not surprisingly, it’s hard to squeeze even a minute of something into my crazy life. Of course, I can say all this as someone who’s volunteered before. This isn’t my first rodeo - I’ve given my time to volunteer for academic clubs, charities, even as a date once. But, after meeting with the recipients of this year’s American Red Cross Volunteer Awards Ceremonies, I have this lingering suspicion in the back of my mind that I should re-evaluate what it really means to be a good Samaritan.

Of course, others volunteer for reasons much less selfish than my own; the recipients of this year’s many awards are proof of that. In total, these men and women have dedicated thousands of hours of hard work to the Red Cross with a simple end in mind - making the South Plains a safer community. It’s a calling that seems to span age, ethnicity and social status. Volunteers include retirees Gerald and Ethel Chambers, who have for years worked on the Disaster Action Team in Plainview, responding to catastrophes even at the dead of night, or Victor Martinez, who juggles presiding of the Texas Tech Red Cross Club, being a full time student, and preparing for medical school.

Volunteers and Staff, including Erin Imhoff, far right
For these volunteers, it seems like the spirit of giving is in their blood. One such volunteer is Erin Imhoff.  I had a chance to speak with Erin, recipient of both the Presidential Lifetime Service Award and the Disaster Preparedness & Response Volunteer Award. Just as fun trivia, how did she earn a award recognized by the President of the United States? Since 2007, Erin has donated over 4,000 (yes, thousand) hours to the American Red Cross. We chatted for a few minutes about the food, her awards, and then we went into the hard question. I had to know, why volunteer at the American Red Cross? I'm not sure what about her answer threw me off at first; the nobility of it or how simple it was. For Erin, volunteer at the Red Cross “because you can be someone’s hero.” In context, this week alone, four apartments in Lubbock burned, leaving eight people on the brink of homelessness; in Louisiana, communities are slowly recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history; world-wide, families are battling measles, a disease shockingly simple to prevent with the right vaccinations. For all of these tragedies, the Red Cross and it’s almost all-volunteer workforce have been there, giving a hero to those who need it most. Erin is one of those heroes, and to meet someone who sacrifices selflessly was a humbling experience.

Listening to these stories, of the impact that one person can have on so many lives, it’s hard not to feel motivated to do something good. Honestly, I don’t think I have what it takes to tack 4,000 hours of volunteer work under my belt, but maybe finding that hour or two won’t be so difficult next time I'm asked. Perhaps there’s a strange part of me that wants to be someone’s hero, too.

A special thanks to Rudy’s BBQ for catering the event. The food was on point.

Red Cross Staff, including North Texas CEO Keith Rhodes
2016 Volunteer Awards Recipients:

Presidential Lifetime Service Award - Erin Imhoff

Silver Presidential Achievement Award - Peter Farr

Bronze Achievement Award - Brittany Walker

Certificate of Dedication - Gerry Grant

Certificate for Outstanding Service – Stan & Betty Foster

Certificate of Appreciation - Weston Ward

Certificate of Appreciation – Miles Hardaway

Certificate of Appreciation – Ellen Wilson

Rookie of the Year Award - Peter Farr

Mentorship Award - Gerald & Ethel Chambers

Woodrow Wilson Youth Award for Exemplary Youth Leadership and Service - Victor Martinez

Administrative Support Volunteer Award- Jade Ngoc

Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership -  Dwain Cox

Community Spirit Award - Richard Alires

The Erwin Thal Philanthropic Award – Cynthia Jumper, M.D.

Disaster Preparedness & Response Volunteer Award - Erin Imhoff

Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award - Clarke Cochran

Chapter Exceptional Employee of the Year Award - John Cummins

Employee Rookie of the Year Award –  Jennifer Trengove

Employee of the Year – Judy Pevytoe

Steven Lara

Volunteer - American Red Cross

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

update on our response to the devastating floods in Louisiana

I want to provide a quick update on our response to the devastating floods in Louisiana, where local officials estimate that at least 110,000 homes were damaged. Although floodwaters have receded in parts of hard-hit Baton Rouge, many residents are still coping with ongoing flooding—and downpours are forecasted to aggravate conditions this week.

Thousands of people sought refuge in Red Cross shelters Monday night—more than one week after swiftly rising waters began ravaging communities. For Louisiana residents like Sandra, who escaped and lost nearly everything, these shelters are not only a place to sleep, but also a safe haven where compassionate volunteers provide meals, relief supplies, emergency information, health services and emotional support.

If you havloved ones or colleagues in impacted areas, please share our safety and cleanup tips, which include what to do when returning to flood-damaged homes.

Over 1,900 Red Cross workers from every state are involved in a massive response, including delivering meals and cleanup supplies where it’s safe to do so. The need is dire, especially for residents who are beginning the daunting process of mucking out their homes. They’re spending hours hauling saturated furniture, clothes and personal mementos to curbs outside—all while an intense stench of rotting fish permeates the air in many of these affected communities.

The Red Cross is committed to helping people in Louisiana recover from the floods—the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy. We estimate this relief effort could cost at least $30 million, but as of Aug. 22, we’ve only received about $7.8 million in designated donations and pledges to support Louisiana.

Our work wouldn't be possible without dedicated our communities support. Please share this information with your networks to help us ensure Red Cross safety and response information is accessible to everyone who needs it. 

If you would like to become a trained Red Cross volunteer you can start that process today: 

If you and your family are able to make a financial gift to support this response you can do that right at your computer: 

All our thanks,

Laura S Hann

Monday, August 15, 2016

Louisiana and Southeast Floods

Click here for video update

Louisiana and Southeast Floods
The flooding in Louisiana is likely the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The historic flooding began to take shape Friday and continued through the weekend as rain came down on the southern Louisiana region. The situation in Louisiana is extremely chaotic and gaining access to many areas is difficult due to flooding and numerous road closures. In addition, power and phone outages are complicating relief efforts. Local officials have reported 20,000 water rescues and are estimating that 10,000 homes have been impacted. With the ongoing floods, many areas remain inaccessible. The threat of ongoing floods continue as weather experts predict more rain is possible.

More than 1,700 National Guard troops have been mobilized with more on the way. On Sunday evening the President declared a major disaster in Louisiana including the most heavily parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge and Livingston. This list is expected to grow. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the town of Lake Arthur in the Jefferson Davis Parish.

On Sunday night, more than 10,600 people sought refuge in nearly 50 Red Cross and community shelters across Louisiana. In addition to opening and supporting shelters, Red Cross disaster volunteers are providing shelter, food and comfort now with more help on the way. An additional 500 Red Cross disaster volunteers from all over the country are on their way to help in Louisiana. The Red Cross has also mobilized 60 disaster response vehicles, 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and more than two dozen trailer loads of shelter and kitchen supplies.

Preliminary estimates indicate the Red Cross response efforts could cost more than $10 million and it is likely to change as more information becomes available.

Large disasters like the floods in Louisiana create more needs than any one organization can meet and the Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community – federal, state, county and local agencies, and other non-profit organizations, churches, area businesses and others- to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently, keeping in mind the diverse needs of the community. Some of these organizations include the Southern Baptists Disaster Relief, Save the Children and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps.

Because the flooding isn’t over, it will take some time to fully uncover the extent of the devastation once the water recedes and the Red Cross will work closely with its partners to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

In Mississippi, rainfall is continuing causing additional flooding. The governor of Mississippi issued a state of emergency for Adams, Amite, Pike, Wilkinson and other counties affected by the rain and floods over the last several days. Mandatory evacuations are still in place for Crosby and Osyka. The Red Cross is coordinating with local emergency management to provide assistance as necessary. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Transforming Ideas into Giving: A Conversation with Jennifer Trengove, Major Gifts Officer

I’ve always believed that a person’s office is a reflection of its occupant’s values, a glimpse into their world from an outsider’s perspective. Walking into Jennifer Trengove’s office, you wouldn’t get the
Jennifer Trengove, Major Gifts Officer
feel that you’ve walked into a typical Major Gift Officer’s work area; there’s no extravagant grandeur, no heavy set mahogany furniture and fake corner plants collecting dust. There’s also no pictures of Jennifer with high-powered people casually shaking hands or cutting a ribbon with dangerously over-sized scissors; the room is, for the most part, simple, perhaps the only vestige of splendor being a picture of a Red Cross nurse draped in the American flag that hanging on the wall unassumingly behind her desk. For other development officers, this may be too simple, but I think it fits well with Jennifer and, for an agency like the Red Cross that assists families after they have lost everything to disaster, less is definitely more.  

Jennifer is one of a handful of paid staff in the South Plains Red Cross office, a rarity in an organization that is overwhelmingly a volunteer workforce. As the Major Gifts Officer, Jennifer is tasked with soliciting and developing large donations and is an Ambassador to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. It’s not an especially easy job given that she covers thirty-five counties in the panhandle region. A day in her heels translates to long hours and driving. Tons of driving. Speaking with Jennifer, though, I feel that she wouldn’t have it any other way. Previously, the Scottsdalian-turned-Lubbockite worked in sales, an experience much like her current work. In fact, it's what led her to the Red Cross. “I was working for an advertising company and one of my co workers went to work for the Red Cross.’ I remember thinking, ‘The Red Cross? How do you go from advertising sales to the Red Cross?’” Fate answered Jennifer's question soon after. “In the meantime, a lady I know bought a table at the Volunteer Symposium that was hosted by the Volunteer Center of Lubbock… the center sent me a survey beforehand about our values. They made these lanyards with three organizations here in Lubbock and three causes that matched our interests. One of mine was disaster relief. I thought, how can I volunteer and go to work full time and raise my daughter, and this position popped up! It was a sign, the best of all worlds.”

Motivating people to give is never easy, though. Jennifer battles misconceptions among donors that seem to share a common theme. One is a common belief that the American Red Cross is a federal agency and doesn’t need donations. Jennifer explains: “We hold a government charter. All that means is that the government has written a specific law that makes us responsible for certain duties; service to the armed forces and disaster relief. We’re a nonprofit, we’re not part of the government.” It's not the only problem that people bring up. “Another issue is transparency; how much is what a person is giving actually going to the mission? The Red Cross, our latest statistics, show that 90% of donations go directly to the mission. That’s ninety cents for every dollar, which is amazing.”

For Jennifer, these problems detract from the positives of donating to the Red Cross. That includes huge steps on the national level. “Our new CEO, when she came into the job a few years ago, we were $600 million in debt, with a $200 million operating deficit. Today we’re debt free, we’re in budget. I think it speaks a lot about or mission and that we care about being good stewards of the donor’s money and being cognizant of how we spend money.” Most of all, she credits the weight of the mission for why people give, a spark that donor feel when they understand where their money is going to a trustworthy cause. “People are empathetic to suffering, to families whose home burns down to the ground or not having a place to live because of a tornado. They hear about our work after the earthquakes in Nepal or Haiti. They feel that connection to our mission.”

That’s Jennifer Trengove: dog aficionado, mom, Major Gifts Officer for the American Red Cross. While that seems like a full plate, it doesn’t look like Jennifer’s slowing down anytime soon; “I love working here – it’s great. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the people.”

Interested in giving to the Red Cross? Good idea, so take the next step. Contact Jennifer at

Steven Lara
Volunteer - American Red Cross