CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Natural disasters along with the COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 one of the busiest years that the American Red Cross has had in a long time.
“The Red Cross works everyday to alleviate human suffering and we know that this year has been a year full of suffering in all different ways,” said Ashley Henyen, Executive Director of the Red Cross of Lowcountry SC.
The Red Cross said families in the United States have spent more nights in emergency lodging, such as shelters and hotels, in 2020 than in any other year over the past decade.
In the last 12 months in South Carolina, the organization has responded to more than 1,800 home fires, which has helped more than 5,100 people address their urgent needs like housing, food and emotional support.
Red Cross of SC added over 750 new volunteers during the year which is important because 90% of the work being done in the field is done by volunteers.
Officials said, in 2020, more than 220 volunteers have been deployed to both local and national natural disasters to lend a helping hand.
Due to the pandemic, they’ve taken a new approach in teaching volunteers a new way to help those in need.
“we’ve been doing a lot of training to let our volunteers learn how to respond more virtually so that they can respond local emergencies and disasters in a safe manner,” said Henyen.
The organization has seen donors give over 77,000 units of blood during their blood drives and has used this as a way to help COVID-19 patients.
“We’ve been doing antibody testing for free for all of our blood donors when they donate whole blood and then it goes through a series of tests and we can actually pull a convalescent plasma therapy donation from that blood to help a patient who’s in the hospital being treated for COVID-19.”Ashley Henyen, Red Cross of the Lowcountry SC
Although 2020 was a busy year, they’re excited to continue their mission going into the future.
“We’re going to continue to be there to help through the end of 2020, into 2021,” she said.
Click here to donate, volunteer, or register for a blood drive through the American Red Cross.