Red Cross turns to youth in search for volunteers

Volunteers from the Penrith branch of the Red Cross. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Red Cross Penrith is looking for fresh blood in a search for new volunteers.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions halting their meetings and fundraising efforts throughout 2020, the branch is expecting to return to meetings in March. Currently, they have about 40 members, but are looking for new people to help expand the efforts of the branch.

Currently, the branch is made up of a lot of elderly members, which President Colleen Towle hopes to change.

“We welcome everyone,” she said.

“There seems to be a misconception that it’s only for women, but men and all younger people are welcome too.

“We’re looking for different ideas and younger people who can do a lot more.”

The branch is particularly excited to build up their social media presence and are hopeful they can entice some volunteers to help them do so.

Red Cross Penrith is one of the most active branches and has gone to great lengths to help the community in recent years. They usually run raffles in fundraising efforts, and contribute to Penrith Festival, although the event was cancelled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In 2018 they released their own cookbook on World Red Cross Day, which featured special family recipes from the members.

They have also been heavily involved in helping those affected by bushfires in recent years and contribute to many local humanitarian efforts.

However, Ms Towle has said they need more modern ideas for fundraising going forward in 2021.

Volunteer Pat Smith has been involved with Red Cross Penrith since 1989, and said it’s been a positive experience.

“My aim was just to help locally, and with the Red Cross, it’s actually worldwide, and that appealed to me too because there’s such tragedies that happen overseas,” Ms Smith said.

“Every time there were emergencies and we knew, we were in there, we could help somebody, that was really encouraging for us too.”

When asked about why she’d recommend volunteering, Ms Smith said it was “the satisfaction it gives one to know that they’re helping other people … yes, that’s the main aim of volunteering – you want to help somebody.”

To volunteer, call 1800 733 276.

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