Volunteering with the Red Cross

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Romotur’s Nikole Garcia on her experience

How long have you been volunteering at the Red Cross and what motivated you to start?

They called me last week to see if I was still available (I had signed up towards the end of March). Since I’m not working for the moment, I wanted to stay active and I’ve always liked helping people, which I sometimes don’t have enough time for in my normal day to day life. I’ve been going twice a week for about 3 hours, but today they told us that it would probably be our last day.

Do you think that is a sign that things are getting better? 

Well, maybe, but the reason is that we’ve already called all the Red Cross members over 60 and they’ve all been informed. Because there were a lot of volunteers, we got the job done pretty quickly.

It’s nice to hear that there were lots of volunteers. Weren’t you a little concerned about being exposed to the virus?

Well, since I was on telephone assistance, I didn’t work directly with a lot of people, but the possibility of getting infected is always a bit scary – and especially the risk of passing it on to family members or friends, but in the end, somebody is going to have to get out there if you want to help.

Where exactly did you volunteer and what kind of tasks did you do?

So, I was at the Abando Red Cross center, calling elderly people above the age of sixty, which is the most vulnerable age group. We asked them about their health, how they are coping with their day to day life and if they need help doing their groceries or running errands, we offered them that assistance.

What kind of feedback did you get?

With some people you just spent a minute, but others wanted to talk, so some conversations were a bit longer. People are pretty tired of staying at home, even the ones who didn’t usually go out much. You can tell people want to be able to get outside. In general, though, people were really nice and grateful for the work of the Red Cross, and talking to people who appreciate your work is really rewarding. I remember one man who was so touched, he said to me “I really love you guys!”