By volunteering with the American Red Cross, pharmacists can continue to help support communities who are struggling during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The need for volunteers since the start of the pandemic has multiplied, with many underserved communities needing support in a socially distanced environment.

Volunteer opportunities for the Red Cross include:
  • Disaster Health Services Teams: Using a registered nurse-led model in Disaster Health Services, the Red Cross has ancillary roles available locally for pharmacists, certified nursing assistants, certified home health aides, nursing students, and medical students. Registered nurses supervise all clinical tasks with proper training provided. Further, volunteers may be asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4, 8 or 12 hours each. For those able to travel outside of their local area, a commitment of at least 14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts, is required.
  • Disaster Shelter Teams: Volunteers are needed to support the day-to-day activities within a shelter, which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information, or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided, and volunteers may be asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4, 6 or 12 hours each if necessary. For those able to travel outside of their local area, a commitment of at least 14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts, is required.
  • Blood Donor Support: The American Red Cross has a critical need for blood donor ambassadors and transportation specialists to continue collecting and providing life-saving blood in local communities. Blood donor ambassadors welcome visitors to Red Cross facilities or blood drives and help to ensure safety at the blood drove by taking the donors temperature before they enter. Additionally, the Red Cross has a high priority need for transportation specialists to help deliver blood from our facilities to local hospitals. This opportunity varies by location.

“As a retired pharmacist, I know that a pharmacist will make an excellent volunteer. Whether it is for a blood drive or for a COVID-19 disaster shelter position, pharmacists have the experience, knowledge and abilities to make a difference in the Red Cross mission,” said retired pharmacist Bill Thawley, American Red Cross, Southeastern Pennsylvania and greater Pennsylvania regions recruiter in a letter to Pharmacy Times®. “Whether you volunteer locally or nationally for our shelter positions, the need is always there, and more so during COVID-19.”

In addition to volunteers for the Red Cross, there are immediate volunteer needs in Biomedical Services that vary by location. If you would like to volunteer in any of these positions, please visit the Red Cross website to learn more about the highest-priority positions.


REFERENCE

Pharmacists and the American Red Cross [email]. Sent November 20, 2020. Accessed November 23, 2020.