Although lines are no longer wrapped around the Red Cross building with hundreds waiting to offer their assistance, people remain willing to offer a helping hand.

Paul Wong
ALYSSA WOOD/Daily
Registered nurse Trish Frazzini attends to blood donor Judy Bolsenga of Dexter yesterday at the Washtenaw County Red Cross located on Packard Street.

“We live in a giving community,” Beverly Smith, coordinator of volunteer services at the University Hospital said. “We have people here that help in times of suffering and need, but there are people that have that sort of spirit all the time.”

One year ago, the Washtenaw County Red Cross was flooded with volunteers. About 8,000 people donated blood in the three-week period after Sep. 11- almost half of their normal annual number of 19,000.

“Hundreds of people were waiting in line each day,” said Pamela Reading-Smith, director of public support for the Washtenaw County Red Cross said.

Smith said the University Hospital’s faculty and staff blood drive in November 2001 collected more blood for the Red Cross than the two previous blood drives in January and April. But Smith said their drives are always successful.

Business contributions have remained consistent throughout the year. “Vendors and agencies offered their commercial services to us, and they have lingered on.” She said, “They will still do some free work for us, but have become sort of partners with us.”

She said she noticed that a lot of professionals that had available time during the day, such as doctors and social workers, were more numerous at the Red Cross than before Sep. 11.

Not everyone that stepped though the Red Cross doors was there solely to donate blood. Many came to offer their talents in areas such as administration and graphic design.

Reading-Smith said that the Red Cross is still utilizing these types of services.

One year later, the Red Cross has settled back down to its normal volunteer numbers, but Reading-Smith said the Red Cross will remain focused on aiding those involved in Sep. 11., “The Red Cross will be involved with September 11th for years, working with the families of victims,” she said.

Reading-Smith said the Red Cross is dependent upon its volunteers and is confident that if another disaster occurred, the volunteers would be back again in strong numbers. “54,000 Red Cross workers helped during Sep. 11 and 52,000 of them were volunteers. The Red Cross is very much a volunteer organization,” she said.

The Red Cross is constantly looking for people to create a larger volunteer base. “One of the things that we are trying to develop is early exposure to young kids. If we can get them to volunteer earlier, there is a better chance we can get them to volunteer later in their lives,” said Wayland Ma, youth services coordinator for the Red Cross.

Reading-Smith said, “Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. To say that we value the University students is not making a strong enough statement. They bring a great amount of talent to our organization”, Reading-Smith said.

The Red Cross is always looking for more help. There are hundreds of disasters the Red Cross assists every year. “It doesn’t take a saint to be a volunteer. However much time you have to give is enough. No matter what skillOne year later, the Red Cross has settled back down to its normal volunteer numbers, but Reading-Smith said the Red Cross will remain focused on aiding those involved in Sep. 11., “The Red Cross will be involved with September 11th for years, working with the families of victims,” she said.

Reading-Smith said the Red Cross is dependent upon its volunteers and is confident that if another disaster occurred, the volunteers would be back again in strong numbers. “54,000 Red Cross workers helped during Sept. 11 and 52,000 of them were volunteers. The Red Cross is very much a volunteer organization,” she said.

The Red Cross is constantly looking for people to create a larger volunteer base. “One of the things that we are trying to develop is early exposure to young kids. If we can get them to volunteer earlier, there is a better chance we can get them to volunteer later in their lives,” said Wayland Ma, youth services coordinator for the Red Cross.

Reading-Smith said, “Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. To say that we value the University students is not making a strong enough statement. They bring a great amount of talent to our organization”, Reading-Smith said.

The Red Cross is always looking for more help. There are hundreds of disasters the Red Cross assists every year. “It doesn’t take a saint to be a volunteer.

However much time you have to give is enough. No matter what skills you think you do or don’t have there is always an opportunity to use them,” Ma said.

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