A message from the Vice President

DSC_2181_Kim_web_250.jpgAs the 2019-2020 fiscal year was coming to a close, the world changed.

With the declaration of a state of emergency in Saskatchewan due to the coronavirus on March 18, 2020, the Canadian Red Cross quickly changed course to continue to support people by establishing new protocols to protect the health and safety of all involved.

When we look back at the pre-COVID-19 period of 2019-2020, the Red Cross in Saskatchewan saw many changes and successes. The Violence and Prevention program delivered training on the prevention of violence, bullying and abuse to 86,543 people, with nearly 16,000 youth reached by the Red Cross Ambassadors from the Saskatchewan Roughriders alone.

The Friendly Phone program that pairs volunteers with seniors for weekly phone calls to combat isolation and loneliness started a growth phase in 2019-2020 and has significantly expanded in the first quarter of 2020-2021. Work is underway to establish a secure funding source for this valuable program that is designed to help seniors stay in their homes longer.

Significant steps were also taken to continue to build effective relationships with Indigenous communities through developing partnerships, a highly successful recruiting initiative that attracted approximately 62 volunteers, providing disaster preparedness training and assisting with the development of response plans.

Once again, the Red Gala was a huge success, raising $425,000 to support Red Cross programs in Saskatchewan. A special thank you to the organizing committee, led by Murad Al-Katib – we could not have done it without you and your team!

We also saw great support from the community for both the 2019 Campaign for Kids Raffle – which raised $96,562 for Red Cross programs – and the 2019 Great Saskatchewan Red Cross Lottery which raised $125,580.

We are sincerely grateful for the ongoing support of key partners in the private and public sectors, as well as all the families and individuals who contribute each year. Whether large or small, one-time or ongoing, your contributions help us mobilize the power of humanity to help the most vulnerable.

And simply stated, we would not be able to do any of this work without the more than 600 volunteers who gave nearly 8,500 hours in 2019-2020 to support those served by the Red Cross in Saskatchewan. My deepest gratitude for your commitment, your dedication and your humanity!

As the year came to an end, pivot quickly became the name of the game in a COVID-19 world. And pivot, we did. Everything that could go virtual was moved online including first aid and water safety training programs.

Among the early actions taken were moving to a remote response to support those displaced by house fires, providing supplies such as cots, blankets and nearly 600 cleaning kits to First Nation communities across the province, and increasing the number of seniors supported by the Friendly Phone program.

One of the great successes was the move to virtual presentations for youth, featuring Red Cross Ambassadors from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Before COVID-19 hit, the ambassadors did 61 presentations in 2019-2020. They pivoted to a Zoom-based presentation as a test with a Yorkton school and it was such a success that they did 44 more presentations to approximately 1,400 youths and families during the last three weeks of the school year! 

I invite you to learn more about some of the accomplishments of the staff and volunteers with the Red Cross in the province. It has been both a successful and challenging year that will not soon be forgotten.
Kim MacLean
Vice President – Saskatchewan (Interim)

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