Facing a relentless disaster season, families in the U.S. have spent more nights in emergency lodging in 2020 than in any other year over the past decade.

“As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, disasters like the widespread wind damage that occurred in April and damage from Tropical Storm Laura in Greater Arkansas – plus relentless hurricanes and wildfires – have upended hundreds of thousands of lives across the country,” said Lori Arnold, executive director, Greater Arkansas chapter. “Through it all, more people are stepping up as Red Cross volunteers to help others – even as they cope with these events and COVID-19. It’s a true testament to the humanitarian spirit of people in Greater Arkansas and in our country.”

More than 1 million times this year, a person relied on the Red Cross for a safe place to sleep after a disaster in the U.S. That’s more than four times the annual average from 2011 to 2019.

This year’s total so far includes more than 1.2 million overnight stays for people across the country following hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Volunteers have also aided more than 1700 people affected by home fires this year throughout Greater Arkansas, helping them secure a safe place to stay and providing food, emotional support and other assistance.

Thousands answer call to help

This year, more than 70,000 people across the country joined the Red Cross as volunteers – who represent more than 90 percent of its workforce. As Greater Arkansas and the country grapples with the pandemic, young people have played a critical role in disaster response – with Millennials and Gen Z representing more than half of new Red Cross volunteers.

Nationwide, 75 percent of new volunteers also stepped up at a pivotal time to fill mission-critical positions, such as shelter and health workers addressing urgent disaster needs, as well as blood donor ambassadors and transportation specialists helping to provide cancer patients, trauma victims and others with lifesaving blood.

How you can help

On Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season, help people in need by donating at redcross.org/gift. A gift of any size makes a difference.

For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzroja americana.org.

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