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Lending a helping and virtual volunteer hand in Halifax during COVID-19

Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for the most current information about Red Cross programs, support, and tips. 

Sandra Christie of Halifax has been a Canadian Red Cross volunteer for four years, drawing on her background as a registered nurse to lead a Safety and Wellbeing team that has been providing virtual support by phone to people feeling isolated, anxious or needing unique help addressing issues relating to COVID-19.

Sandra Christie pictured prior to the pandemic.She would stay in touch with individuals who might register and receive COVID-19 related financial aid programs being managed by the Red Cross on behalf of various provincial governments.

If she sensed that the caller was struggling emotionally and could use extra help, Sandra also was able to suggest other resources, or just provide a little extra conversation from a friendly voice at the Red Cross.

"Some just needed further help to identify what programs they could access, some were alone and having a challenging time and just needed someone to talk to, and a few needed definite linkages to mental health and other resources,” says Sandra.

Sandra recalls a woman in St. John's, NL, who had health challenges of her own while also caring for an autistic son and risked losing access to much-needed homecare workers she hired privately but needed to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and latex gloves, which "at the time were in very short supply for everyone." Without home care, the woman would have to go to a hospital and seek alternate care for her son.

Sandra was able to quickly contact several wholesalers, explaining she was with the Canadian Red Cross and the urgent need, and very quickly the required supplies were on their way.

Today, she continues to help get supplies to the people who need them in a new role, providing Red Cross support to travellers who, when they arrival at Halifax's Robert L. Stanfield International Airport have no other means to meet Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine requirements. They are placed in a nearby hotel for 14 days of self-isolation, but her team is in daily contact with the travellers to ensure they have access to meals, clothing, prescription renewals or other essentials during their stay, keeping them safe and healthy.

It is thanks to the passion of volunteers like Sandra that so many people in Atlantic Canada can find support and comfort during this pandemic.

Volunteering is a great way to try new things and can give you the knowledge and experience to shift your career in exciting new directions. As a Red Cross volunteer, you have a supervisor who helps provide guidance, access to training and other opportunities to ensure you get the most out of your volunteering experience. Visit redcross.ca/volunteer to learn more. 
 
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