National Volunteer Week is recognized in the United States during the third week in April, and the American Red Cross is celebrating its volunteers who are determined to help those in need.
According to the Red Cross, volunteers at the organization respond to an average of more than 60,000 disasters every year, and more than 25,000 volunteers support the Red Cross Blood Services.
"We could not do what we do without our incredible group of volunteers that support not only our operations on the ground in each of their communities, but across the United States and around the world," American Red Cross spokesperson Stephanie Fox said.
Fox said more than 90% of the organization’s workforce is composed of volunteers.
"This week, we are celebrating all of those incredible accomplishments, the dedication, and the selflessness to go out and serve their neighbors and those in need," she said.
Now, Fox said, volunteers are more important than they ever have been before.
"Last hurricane season, we had 21 storms that impacted our areas, and we had more than 900 major wildfires that were impacting folks," Fox said. "We really need the volunteers to be able to go out and support not only our sheltering, but our disaster mental health, our health services, our folks that are just giving a comforting hug to those who need it on some of their worst days."
So, what does it take to become a volunteer at the Red Cross?
"The best part about being a volunteer with the Red Cross is we provide all of the training necessary for you to be able to best support those in your community," she said.
Fox said it’s all about a volunteer’s individual passion.
"We really lean in heavily on what is your passion? What are you most interested in, and what are your skills," she said. "What is that skillset going to lead you to do within the organization? We want to encourage anyone who may be interested to join us, to visit their local chapter so you can find out more about what is going to fit best and how you can best serve those in need."
The Red Cross says it always welcomes volunteers to help, but some roles have a more urgent need than others.
If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, click here.