Building may be up for sale within a month
By Robert Cloud
Waupaca will be among the nine American Red Cross offices to close statewide.
Steve Hansen, chapter executive for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin, said the organization is reducing its physical footprint nationwide.
“We’re looking to maximize out resources,” Hansen said. “Ninety-two cents of every dollar contributed to the American Red Cross goes to programs and services. Volunteers make up 90 percent of our workforce and we are able to provide out services in the community without the need for a building.”
Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, the Red Cross statewide collected blood from nearly 88,000 donors, trained 108,000 in CPR, first aid and water safety skills and recruited nearly 2,800 volunteers.
During that one-year period, the Red Cross responded to 828 disasters, including fires, floods and tornadoes and provided help to 4,118 people in Wisconsin.
The Red Cross currently has 19 facilities in Wisconsin. After it reorganizes, there will be two facilities for each of the five chapters in the state.
For the Northeast chapter, the remaining offices will be in Oshkosh and Green Bay.
The Waupaca office may be up for sale within a month, according to Hansen.
“This building closure will have next to no impact on the American Red Cross delivery services,” Hansen said. “We will continue to respond to disasters, continue to provide services to the armed forces, continue to offer health and safety training programs and continue to offer blood drives. Most of these services already happen outside of our local Red Cross buildings.”
Hansen said the organization is trying to identify alternative spaces where volunteers can hold meetings and where it can continue to offer its nurse assistant training program.
According to Vicki Jenks, a community volunteer leader for the Red Cross, the Waupaca Disaster Action Team (DAT) has been hplding its monthly meetings in the local Red Cross building.
She said the DAT that serves Waushara, Green Lake and Marquette meets in a fire station in Neshkoro.
Jenks, who is a DAT member from Wild Rose, described how technology makes Red Cross volunteer efforts more efficient and more responsive to local emergencies.
On Friday, Oct. 2, Vicki Jenks and her husband John were on call for the Red Cross DAT.
“We were having supper and the phone rang at 6:10 p.m.,” Jenks said. “We were at the fire in Plainfield by 6:22 p.m. Within 40 minutes we had financial assistance for a family of six.”
Jenks said each Disaster Action Team has kits that provide families with basic needs, such as sweatshirts and seatpants, quilts, stuffed toys for children, and hygiene kits designed specifically for adult males or females, children or infants.
“We hand them a debit card so they can stay at a hotel, buy food or medicine, get clothes,” Jenks said.
Red Cross volunteers work with a 24/7 dispatch system and are expected to respond to an emergency within two hours of receiving a call.
For more information on how to become a Red Cross volunteer, call 920-231-3590.