On Friday, June 25th, The American Red Cross partnered with Centro Esperanza Latina to bring a day of disaster safety classes, puppet shows, and hands-on demonstrations. Over 100 adults and children gathered for our day of presentations and fun. Red Cross services, water safety, and a hand washing station lined the wall, while children raced across the lawn, competing to identify objects belonging in a disaster supply kit. Downstairs in the community center, adults listened to Spanish translated presentations, covering Community Transportation services and Be Red Cross Ready, a class designed to teach participants how to prevent and prepare for disaster. Also in attendance were two Red Cross partners, the Columbus Police Department and the Columbus Fire Division, bringing with them the highly popular children’s fingerprinting and Safety House activities. Ohio Health and the OSU Extension Health Pregnancy program were also in attendance, offering advice and assistance.
Mass Care used the event as a practice for community feeding. Jim Johnson led the chopping festivities, making refried beans, grilled vegetables, fresh burritos, and blending strawberry banana smoothies.
Over the years, the American Red Cross has been working to strengthen its relationships to the Spanish-speaking community. Though Latino families tend to play active roles within their cultural communities, the majority of adults remain isolated from the Columbus community at large, and thus hesitant to accept help from the government or NGO’s during times of emergency and natural disaster. Through increased interaction and exposure, we have seen that greater understanding and trust can be fostered between the two. This event provided an important step towards creating inter-cultural partnerships.
The day was a success, and could not have been done without our wonderful partners and volunteers who made the event possible. It was a pleasure to collaborate between departments within the Red Cross and throughout the Columbus community. I look forward to participating in future Red Cross activities with the Columbus Hispanic community.
Thanks to Cyrana Gallay, intern in International Services and Community Disaster Education, organizer of event for this post.