Life-long Stockton resident Dennis Saxton began serving blood donors 17 years ago. During his very first volunteering shift, three people passed out! “I almost didn’t come back,” said Dennis, “but I’m glad that I did. Since then, I have met a lot of people I like to call friends.” Dennis thoroughly enjoys spending time with his friends, so much so that, he schedules three regular shifts per week and will come in on a moment’s notice to fill in when needed.
Dennis enjoys the front desk, signing donors in and answering their questions. Dennis moonlights as a trainer and has helped numerous new volunteers learn the subtleties of reception work. With his easy sense of humor, Dennis shines in the Canteen. “I like to meet people and I like to talk,” he ways. But Dennis also understands the serious side of the Canteen. “You have to pay attention to what’s going on around you. We are here to serve the donors.”
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 have joined with the Missing Maps project. 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.
On Thursday, November 1, Red Cross volunteers from the Gold Country Region will join with our partners at Intel in Folsom for a a Mapathon session. Our volunteers will be among about 50 people working together on the day’s mapping challenges.
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 redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.