Safety, Comfort and Security Offered at Mountain Fire Shelter in Redding

By Nicole Ritchie, Red Cross Volunteer

The Mountain Fire began late Thursday morning just northeast of Redding, California.  As the blaze quickly grew, some 1,100 structures were threatened and an estimated 3,885 people were told to evacuate.

Mountain Fire Shelter Staff
Red Cross shelter staff prepare for visitors during this week’s Mountain Fire evacuation.

By mid-afternoon a Red Cross evacuation center was opened at the Crosspointe Community Church in Redding.

In a community still recovering from the devastating Carr Fire last summer, tensions were high.  Throughout the day, Red Cross volunteers handed out water and snacks to evacuees who came by while anxiously awaiting news about the fire.

Shelter manager Janice Johnson said that most people who visited the evacuation center did not register to stay the night.

“They are just checking in. They want to see there is a place to go if needed,” she said.

A visitor named Jeri, who had been at a shelter during the Carr Fire, was one who decided to stay the night at Crosspointe. She shared that her husband passed away last year.

“It’s scary to be alone not knowing what’s going to happen with the fire.  I feel safe at the shelter,” Jeri  said.

On the cot next to her sat another evacuee, Doris, who stated simply, “Thank you. I really appreciate having a place to go.”

Eleven evacuees spent the night at the shelter as Red Cross volunteers for the overnight shift relieved fellow volunteers who had worked hard all day.

Shelter manager Johnson who has been involved in opening several shelters over the last year explained, “When you open a shelter you just don’t know what to expect. Will no one show up? Will 200?”

It’s the unpredictable nature of a disaster.  What can be counted on is that the American Red Cross will to be there to provide safe shelter, nourishing food and compassionate care.

Locate open shelters around the country here.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross or supporting our mission with a donation, visit

Meet Super Volunteer, Richard Johnston

Richard “Don” Johnston  

Twenty-three years ago, Richard Johnston retired as an electronic supervisor at the Stockton Navy Communication Station. Not one to sit for very long, Richard immediately got busy refinishing furniture. He also took on huge responsibilities at his church, doing maintenance and managing the kitchen; overseeing the weekly Wednesday niJohnstonght dinners and all of the banquets. All of this was not enough. Richard sought out a volunteer position at his local blood center (then, Delta Blood Bank), ten years ago.  

Richard has been a loyal and committed Delta Blood Bank/American Red Cross volunteer for a decade, at both the Stockton Blood Center and at mobiles, AND; he shows no sign of slowing down! During our transition to become American Red Cross, we needed more volunteer power. Richard contributed over 800 hours during the transition period! 

As a volunteer, I believe it is our responsibility to be attentive during our time serving. When a donor is at the counter for their goodies, I maintain constant contact with them, ensuring they are not having problems. I do not watch the TV while donors are at the counter. I believe it is our responsibility to maintain constant vigil at all times. To be consistent in my duties, I read the Volunteer Guidelines posted on the bulletin board each week. This reminds me of my responsibilities to the donor. 

Richard is also a whole blood and platelet donor, and at this writing was closing in on his 27-gallon goal.  

James Thompson: Super Volunteer — and Donor!


James Thompson (Newman, CA) has been volunteering at Delta Region blood drives for two years and donating blood for ten. James enjoys the conversations with donors… A LOT! So much so that he has broken records, once volunteering for four drives in one week: a high school, a police department, a fire department and, fulfilled his weekly shift at Turlock Blood Center. But wait! That’s not all! In the middle of that very busy week, James managed to sandwich in a Power Red donation! GO JAMES! 

Red Cross Seeks AmeriCorps Members for Disaster Education & Disaster Response

We are looking for highly energized and service-minded individuals to help us further the mission of the American Red Cross as AmeriCorps members! You will work with the American Red Cross to provide vital emergency assistance to individuals affected by disaster and prepare vulnerable communities before disasters strike.

Benefits Include:

  • Living stipend
  • $10,000 Education Award
  • Health care coverage
  • Student loan forbearance

More information here:

Americorps Ad



Gold Country Volunteers Deploy to Tropical Storm Barry

Did you know that we are sending Red Cross volunteers from the Gold Country Region to Louisiana ahead of Tropical Storm Barry?

Follow @ARCLouisiana on Twitter


It’s true! We will be posting updates and photos from our volunteers on the ground as soon as we can.

Thank you, volunteers, for stepping up to help those in need!

Preparing for the Storm

A 3-in-1 Day with Blue Shield in Lodi: First Aid Kits, Blood Donations and Mapping!


Red Cross volunteers had a busy day with our Blue Shield partners in Lodi today! Not only did Blue Shield host an onsite blood drive, but employees also sat down with us to build 100 first aid kits and take part in a session for the Missing Maps project.

What is Missing Maps?

Imagine if your town had suffered catastrophic damage in a storm but emergency responders and aid workers couldn’t get there to help because your community wasn’t on any maps.

While this may seen strange to Westerners, it’s a real problem in other parts of the world.

To help get relief into people’s hands, the American Red Cross and partner organizations such as Blue Shield have joined with Missing Maps. Using OpenStreetMap, volunteers have put millions of people from high-risk countries on the map since 2014.

This makes a lifesaving difference for disaster workers combating deadly health crises like the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged parts of Nepal in 2015, volunteers worldwide sprang into action to map affected communities and roads to support relief efforts on the ground.

But much work still lies ahead to put more families in the world’s most vulnerable communities on the map—before disaster strikes.

You can help too! All you need is a computer and an internet connection. Volunteer at home, attend a mapathon or host one with family and friends.

  • Visit Missing Maps » to learn how to get started or to find a Mapathon event.

If you are intersted in volunteering with the American Red Cross or to make a donation, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.