Red Cross needs help

The Red Cross needs your help.

The month of May has been set aside by the agency to raise $200,000 to continue its community programmes of disaster preparation, first aid, HIV/AIDS and the thrift shop.

While the appeal is being made to everyone, it is being made especially to corporations operating in the Cayman Islands.

‘We tell corporations, you’re giving the Red Cross money because you want to have an impact in the community, but you’re too busy. We’re a vehicle. Use us. We’re already there,’ said Jondo Malafa Obi, director of Cayman Islands Red Cross.

Part of the money raised will be used to help form community disaster response teams in some of the more vulnerable areas of Grand Cayman, such as the Swamp and Windsor Park.

‘We’ll train them and give them the tools,’ she said. ‘We need to start from the bottom up. You’re the community and we’ll help you assess.’

The money will also be used to pay for the Red Cross Container Project. Seven containers are designated for Grand Cayman and one each for the Sister Islands.

Those containers hold tarpaulins, generators, buckets, mops; just about anything needed for disaster relief and cleanup.

Volunteer training is continuous at the Red Cross, which has close to 300 volunteers on the roles and about 150 active.

First aid training is also ongoing

‘Our commitment is to train 12 teachers and 12 aides in each school, from pre-school to high school,’ Ms Obi said. Corporate sponsorship is a must for that programme.

The Red Cross HIV/AIDS programme is only at John Gray High School now.

‘We need to make sure the youth of Cayman, when they make a decision, make the right one. We give them options and use peer educators,’ she said. ‘We need to go into more schools to get to the 14- and 15-year-olds. We definitely need corporate sponsors for that.’

The Red Cross Thrift Shop helps raise money through donations of clothing and other items, which are sold.

But the Thrift Shop also provides free clothing and shoes to all agencies that deal with people in need, such as Immigration, the detention centre, police, Women’s Crisis Centre and the Department of Family and Children.

Throughout the rest of May the Red Cross will be selling hot dogs each Saturday at Foster’s Food Fair and many companies are offering their employees to dress down on Fridays and making contributions to Red Cross.

While the push is on to reach the $200,000 mark in May, the big fundraiser will be 22 June when Elton Joel, an Elton John tribute artist, performs at the annual dinner dance.

There will be 30 tables and tickets are $150 per person or corporate tables at $1,500.

Along with the Elton John tribute will be Pablo Suarez, the technical advisor to the Red Cross Centre on Climate Change.

‘The biggest and hottest topic is climate change,’ said Ms Obi. ‘The theme for the evening is climate change and he will discuss the correlation between climate change and disaster management. This will be a fun but educational night.’

Call 949-6785, extension 26 or 29 to reserve a seat or table.

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