By Brea DuBose, Volunteer with American Red Cross Vilseck Complex
VILSECK, Germany — Before the coronavirus pandemic, most American Red Cross volunteers offered assistance in person. From helping run blood drives, to teaching classes and supporting the military community in Bavaria, the volunteer opportunities were endless. But as the surrounding area implemented physical distancing measures, organizational staff had to rethink the methods of volunteerism.
“When COVID first came around everybody had to pivot to a virtual environment,” said Savannah Robinson, regional program manager of the American Red Cross in Bavaria. “So we found creative ways to volunteer from home.”
According to Robinson, a common opportunity among volunteers is helping with emergency communication messages.
“Those volunteers are able to complete family follow-ups by reaching out to individuals that have received Red Cross messages, and ensure that they got everything they needed from the Red Cross,” she explained.
This is one way the local Red Cross serves the military community in Bavaria. When someone in a service member’s immediate family experiences an emergency, anyone can initiate a Red Cross message request for emergency leave. After the message has been delivered, volunteers complete follow-up steps to ensure that all needs are met.
Volunteers also help by reaching out to veterans. These virtual volunteers call to check on veterans and push out information about vaccine efforts in their communities.
“We have volunteers over here that are reaching out from home to veterans, and family members of veterans, in the states to make sure they’re getting the information they need,” she said.
Volunteers continue to provide invaluable services to the American Red Cross and USAG Bavaria community. To learn more about virtual volunteer opportunities, visit the American Red Cross USAG Bavaria Facebook page.