(CMR) Today, 8 May, Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal Societies are celebrating World Red Cross Day. The day, which marks the birthday of the Movement’s founder and winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize, Henri Dunant, has been observed annually since 1948.
There are almost 97 million members and many volunteers who serve through the Red Crescent and Red Cross.
They are honored to do every task for their fellow humans, providing relief to 170 Nations worldwide.
Here in Cayman, the month of May is observed as Red Cross Month and the Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) commemorates this feat by enhancing its program activities throughout the community. The Red Cross programs are grouped into four main core areas: promoting humanitarian principles and values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and care in the community.
This year, we dedicate this day to the hundreds of Cayman Island Red Cross volunteers who assisted the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane season, the CIRC said.
The resurgence of community transmission of COVID-19 took hold in October 2021; Red Cross volunteers were deployed to assist in the delivery of food and other groceries to households that suddenly were placed in quarantine due to coming in contact with a COVID-positive case or because a member of the household had tested positive.
This service became a lifeline for families who found themselves under quarantine/isolation orders with empty fridges and cupboards as they had no prior notice in light of the sudden news. Until this service was established, those short of money or with no credit cards or internet access who were unable to order food and groceries online had no option but to turn to neighbors, family members, colleagues, and elected officials to assist them.
Approximately 117 CIRC volunteers have supported the project, and between October 20, 2021, and November 30, 2021, these volunteers made an average of three deliveries per day, assisting 442 households.
In 2021, The CIRC shelter, the first shelter to open in localized and national emergencies, was activated four (4) times. The shelter was activated in response to the fires in the Windsor Park community and the landfill, as well as Tropical Storms Grace and Ida. Over 20 persons sought refuge at the CIRC shelter, and 36 CIRC volunteers were deployed to assist in all of the government shelters.
First Aid volunteers covered 29 community events over the course of 2021, with 180 CIRC volunteers deployed to ensure the health and safety of attendees. Disaster Management volunteers were able to, once again, support the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) in completing their annual airport emergency exercise. A total of 35 CIRC volunteers participated in two key roles, as victims of the exercise as well as first aid responders supporting emergency response personnel.
The CIRC’s “Support Our Seniors” project focused on identifying, vetting, training, and deploying volunteers to assist Cayman’s vulnerable elderly population. In 2021, 64 CIRC volunteers supported 30 vulnerable elderly residents in all districts of Grand Cayman for the duration of the initiative. Some 114 client requests for services were completed with services provided such as transportation to medical appointments and pickup and delivery of groceries and medication.
“Around the world, there are over 115 million people who give their time, skills, blood, sweat, and tears to help assist the most vulnerable and empower their community”, explained Jondo Obi, CIRC Director.
“We are a voluntary service humanitarian organization unlike any other, and everything that we do, here and abroad, is because everyday citizens believe in the power of humanity and act on that belief,” she added.
“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the Red Cross, both here in Cayman and across the globe. With endless compassion and dedication, Red Cross volunteers give of themselves selflessly as they respond to natural and man-made disasters in their communities”.
The Cayman Islands Red Cross is open to all and always welcomes volunteers. To learn more, email the Volunteer and Resources Manager at [email protected].