Twelve years ago, doctors told Loretta Walker she had only few months to live and she should return home to put her affairs in order.
Instead, she began volunteering at the Red Cross blood center in Manteca. Having received transfusions herself, Loretta has had firsthand experience with blood donations and knows how important donating blood is for the community. In addition to her canteen work and volunteering at local mobile blood drives, Loretta offered to coordinate volunteers for the Manteca center.
“I love communicating with the other volunteers and donors,” said Loretta. I have made some new friends and love visiting my old friends too.”
Another project near to Loretta’s heart is helping Manteca youth. For the past 10 years, Loretta has been an integral part of the FUN (Friday Unity Night) Club. Determined to help keep kids off the streets and away from drugs, community leaders created a safe haven every Friday where kids would go to play games, hear live music and participate in presentations from the police and fire departments.
Loretta continues to serve, despite her ongoing fight against cancer. In April 2018, Loretta had radiation treatments because the tumors had grown. “I don’t give up,” she said. “I am dedicated to working with the community and all the people in it.”
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina gave birth to a wonderful project for children – The Pillowcase Project. This preparedness education program for 3rd through 5th grade students teaches about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills.
During the 10th Anniversary of Katrina, Red Cross chapters across the nation have been participating in the World’s Largest Pillowcase Projects to increase awareness of this unique project. The Gold Country region kicked off this event at Prairie Elementary School in Elk Grove.
We were so thrilled to have Fox40 showcasing the project, the students and our volunteers LIVE on the air and later on in their evening newscast. Below you can see the piece in their 6PM News.
Four Fun Facts About the Pillowcase Project:
The Red Cross Pillowcase Project began in New Orleans after the disaster, where volunteers reached out to children in the community who remembered Katrina’s fury and remained afraid of storms.
The Red Cross took the lead in talking with them about disasters and loss, about rebuilding their lives starting with a pillowcase and a plan. Children began to feel the strength that comes from being prepared.
In the past 10 years, the Pillowcase Project has expanded to hundreds communities across the United States to help children better plan for their future. And it all begins with a pillowcase.
In the Gold Country Region, we have shared the Pillowcase Project with more than 3600 students.