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Winnipeg's big month of disasters

In an average month, Canadian Red Cross personal disaster assistance teams respond to about 6 requests for assistance. But this July, our Winnipeg volunteers supported a massive 21 personal disasters.
 
Personal disasters can include house fires, or flooding and storm damage to homes. Our Red Cross volunteers help people experiencing small-scale disasters get access to food, lodging, clothing, and other necessities within the first 72 hours.

 

One volunteer’s busy July

A woman stands in her backyard, wearing reading glasses and a bright red Red Cross vest, smiling.Kara Kallenbach lives in Winnipeg and has been volunteering with the Red Cross since last fall.
 
This July, Kara helped deliver prepaid cards to people experiencing personal disasters. The cards can be used to replace clothing, buy groceries, and purchase much needed medication.
 
While most Red Cross support is virtual at the moment, some still require mask-to-mask interactions. Kara volunteered to deliver the cards in person. She received extensive training in keeping herself and the people she was supporting, safe.
 
“I think that COVID has changed a lot of people’s attitudes about helping others, about being there for your neighbour,” Karen said.
 
Jessie Horodecki, emergency management coordinator, said that Kara “was phenomenal. She learned on the fly and learned very quickly.”
 
“Her willingness to put herself out there in the COVID-19 world is admirable,” said Jessie.
 
The work of volunteering can be its own reward, and Kara appreciates the small acknowledgements of the work she does.
 
“I got a package the other day with PPE [personal protective equipment] … the best thing in that package was a thank you card. That little effort meant the world.”

 

Get involved


As summer turns to fall, we're preparing for a new season of potential responses and changing requirements from the pandemic.

 If you would like to make a difference in your community, you can learn more about volunteer opportunities here.
 
If you have experienced a personal disaster, you can find contact information to request assistance here.

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