Giving more than just blood, the UCSB chapter of the American Red Cross Club will host a slew of events this week promoting disaster preparedness.
Tonight from 6 to 9, individuals can participate in a Mass Care: Overview course, which provides basic, generalized disaster services training. A Masters of Disasters class will also take place on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. The club will host its events at the Santa Barbara American Red Cross headquarters on 2707 State St.
To sign up, students can attend the organization’s general meeting Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the Community Affairs Board office.
The club has also recently focused on Miles for Measles, an international coalition that helps children in Third World countries combat measles by providing vaccinations. ARCC has raised over $1,000 through fundraisers and related events and plans to create another fundraiser for Fight the Bite, a similar prevention program aiming to combat malaria.
ARCC Co-President and fourth-year biology major Toni Brand said the group is also gathering supplies to send to the United Service Organization as care packages for soldiers in Iraq. In addition to the blood drives and various volunteer efforts planned for the year, Brand said the club is open to fundraising ideas to support any cause.
“We can do anything in this club,” Brand said. “If you have something that touched your life and you feel that you want to raise money for that cause, the Red Cross will support you and we’ll make some kind of fundraiser to support that cause.”
Santa Barbara Red Cross member and third-year psychology major Amy Wriedt said she initially believed the group would focus only on blood drives, but that its recent projects have exceeded her expectations.
“When I joined, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Wriedt said. “I thought maybe a lot of blood drives and handing out bandages. I really didn’t know, but it’s been really cool and I’ve met some really nice people.”
The club also coordinates meals for the Isla Vista homeless on a weekly basis with the Breakfast Club, a food-based charity founded by Father Jon-Stephen Hedges of Saint Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church.
Fourth-year biology and cultural anthropology major Rehana Cale said that many only know the Red Cross for its blood drives and thank-you cookies.
“People think [ARCC is] just a bunch of blood drives,” Cale said. “Everyone is like ‘Oh, I don’t want to donate blood,’ [but] we’re not asking you for your blood.”
ARCC began on campus six years ago and has over 45 members. The club oversees a wide spectrum of events ranging from community-based activities to international fundraisers aimed at helping communities worldwide. The club also offers CPR, disaster and first aid training.