Wherever there are people in need, the American Red Cross is there. This nonprofit humanitarian organization has been providing disaster relief, emergency assistance, and disaster preparedness education since it was established in 1881.
Red Cross volunteers are crucial to the organization’s ability to mobilize and help communities near and far. In honor of Red Cross Month, meet two exceptional volunteers and find out what kind of work they’ve done, why they do it, and how you can volunteer, too.
Learning new skills, helping people
Andrei Feng got involved with the Red Cross through a club in high school. He liked that the organization has local, national, and global impact. “Volunteering allows me to gain new perspectives about the way communities react and adapt to constant changes in the world,” Feng says. “I tend to take on projects that are bigger in scale where I can call on others in the community help out.”
Plus, he appreciates the variety of ways he can help. “There are many subcategories of service within the Red Cross,” Feng says. “I keep motivated by doing different things and learning new skills.” In the two years that he’s been volunteering, he’s logged more than 350 volunteer hours.
Andrei Feng practicing CPR.
Always ready to serve
Cyndi Davies Wong has been volunteering with the Red Cross for the past 17 years. She still remembers watching TV and seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. “My friend and I wanted to help, but we didn’t want to be a liability,” Davies Wong says. “So we joined the Red Cross, trained furiously, and within a week we were deployed.”
After she and her husband moved to the Big Island, Davies Wong joined the local chapter of the Red Cross. She wanted to continue her volunteer work where she uses her professional skills as a registered nurse to help fulfill the organization’s mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering. “I really enjoy being in service to others, meeting new people, and seeing the magic of a hui coming together from different walks of life and in short order creating a well-oiled machine ready to serve others,” Davies Wong says.
One of her most memorable volunteering experiences was during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea. The lava flowed nearly 14 miles up to 80 feet deep, destroying 700 homes. Davies Wong was stationed at the Pahoa shelter where she answered questions, provided health education, and referred people to helpful resources. It’s an experience she’ll never forget. “My kuleana is to further what others have built to deliver health services to help each other and the community,” Davies Wong says.
Cyndi Davies Wong wvolunteering at the Pahoa shelter on the Big Island n 2018.
You can volunteer, too!
Ninety percent of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers. Some choose to donate time, others money or resources. There are many ways to pitch in. To make it easy, the Red Cross has a website and an email address for those who want more information.
Photo credit: American Red Cross Pacific Islands Region, Hawaii Chapter