In the face of this year’s disasters, hundreds of thousands of people turned to the American Red Cross for food, shelter and recovery support in Oklahoma and across the country.

Locally, Oklahoma volunteers served multiple disasters across the state including tornadoes, wildfires, flooding and the everyday home fires.  Volunteers help people affected by home fires by addressing their urgent needs like food and lodging, and providing recovery support.

“This year, local Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to help neighbors devastated by disasters,” Brittney Rochell, Chief Communications Officer for the Oklahoma Region said. “We’re grateful for their selfless commitment and the generous support of donors to fuel our lifesaving mission every day.”

LOCAL VOLUNTEERS HELP ACROSS THE U.S. When large disasters like western wildfires, coastal hurricanes and Midwest floods and tornadoes devastated families in other parts of the country this year, volunteers from across Oklahoma were among the nearly 9,000 Red Cross workers — 90 percent of them volunteers — who left their homes to:

Serve over 1.1 million meals and snacks with partners

Distribute over 354,000 relief items

Make over 92,000 contacts to support health, mental health, spiritual care and disability needs

Provide over 79,000 overnight shelter stays with partners

In addition, multiple Red Cross emergency response vehicles from Oklahoma were among those that traveled more than 900,000 miles nationwide during disasters to deliver relief like food, comfort kits and cleanup supplies to hard-hit neighborhoods this year.

Across the country, the Red Cross also provided emergency financial assistance to nearly 376,000 people for disaster needs like food and lodging. Many Carlos Blanco were recovering from home fires — which account for most of the 60,000-plus disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year in the U.S. “People don’t even know how important an organization like the Red Cross can be,” he said, “and what it represents during people’s worst time. Basically, it’s hope. They don’t care who you are. They just know you need help.”

Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to work with its partners to prevent fire tragedies through its lifesaving Home Fire Campaign, which installed its 2 millionth free smoke alarm in the U.S. this year.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people in need by making a financial donation or becoming a volunteer. Learn more at redcross.org. In addition, this year’s severe weather and disasters caused about 34,000 blood donations to go uncollected across the country because of cancelled blood drives. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the Red Cross urges all eligible individuals to donate. Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org