DENVER, Sept. 22, 2005 ? With more than 145,000 American Red Cross volunteers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the Virgin Islands already working to assist Hurricane Katrina victims, nationwide chapters of the American Red Cross have an immediate need to train additional disaster volunteers for state and national emergencies.
Training for these disaster volunteers in western and mid-western states will be made possible in part by a grant from the Qwest Foundation, the philanthropic program of Qwest Communications. This is the second straight year the Qwest Foundation has provided this grant for disaster volunteer training in Red Cross offices throughout Qwest?s 14-state region.
"We're very grateful to Qwest for this important donation to the American Red Cross for disaster training programs," said Joe Becker, senior vice president of preparedness and response for the American Red Cross. "More than 97 percent of the work done by the American Red Cross is done by volunteers. And as we participate in our largest disaster response ever to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina, there's an acute need to train new volunteers to meet current and future challenges in responding to disasters. Qwest's important contribution to this effort will help us train thousands of volunteers and ensure the American Red Cross can continue to provide critical services to those in need."
Training courses will include the basics of American Red Cross disaster response as well as skills needed in sheltering and caring for survivors of disasters large and small. The primary role of Red Cross disaster volunteers is to meet emergency basic needs of survivors, including safe shelter, food, and medical and mental health support.
?Qwest is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where employees live and work and is proud to be a long-term partner of the American Red Cross,? said Ric Padilla, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Qwest. ?With the unprecedented disaster of Hurricane Katrina, it is essential for companies like Qwest to think about long-term community needs such as preparedness and emergency response.?
Please contact your local American Red Cross chapter for more information on how to sign up for disaster response training. New classes are forming right now to help meet the Red Cross goal of training an additional 40,000 volunteers by Nov. 30.
About the Qwest Foundation
The Qwest Foundation?s core principle is that investing in people and communities provides lasting value for the future. The Qwest Foundation awards grants to community-based programs that generate high-impact and measurable results, focusing on K-12 education and economic development.
The Qwest Foundation?s philosophy is to help build strong communities through investing in people and the places where they live and work. For more information, contact www.qwest.com/foundation.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors?across the street, across the country and across the world?in emergencies. Each year, in communities large and small, victims of some 70,000 disasters turn to neighbors familiar and new?the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross Through almost 900 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Some 4 million people give blood?the gift of life?through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of 181 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work. Marsha J. Evans is the President and CEO of the American Red Cross.