Tuesday, June 21, 2016

American Red Cross Volunteers Respond to Canada Wildfires

Louise Vande Wiele
On Thursday, May 13, 2016, a team of 15 American Red Cross caseworkers deployed to the Edmonton Expo Centre to begin assisting Fort McMurray evacuees. This sizeable center serves both as a shelter, and as a centralized location for clients to receive assistance from various organizations. The location was ideal in allowing caseworkers to make referrals to agencies within the same building.

The American Red Cross team served upwards of 400 clients in eight hours. The team divided into three groups – client casework, computer services, and triage.  Caseworkers verified registrations, made needed adjustments, and referred clients. The computer team helped clients get registered, set up electronic banking, and access the reunification site. On the front line, the triage team answered questions about Canadian Red Cross assistance, helped clients through the EFT process, and referred many to services offered by other agencies.

Triage team member, Louise Vande Wiele, Heart of Tennessee chapter, shared, “It was amazing to have many people come back in to hug me and thank me for my help, and to say that the referrals I gave them were exactly what they needed, or that what I taught them worked perfectly and their funds were now deposited.”

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