For over 130 years the American Red Cross has been serving those who serve our nation. Through the Services to the Armed Forces (SAF), the Red Cross is able to provide emergency communication services and support to military and veteran families all across the country and around the world.
After only four months working with SAF, intern Samantha Barbarek has seen how much of an impact it can have on local military families. Samantha is currently majoring in Security and Intelligence at The Ohio State University, where she discovered the SAF internship program at a career fair. She also acts as president of the Pets for Vets program at Ohio State in addition to schoolwork and her internship.
“Every day at the office I work on casework,” said Samantha. “Making phone calls to military families, confirming that all of their emergency needs have been met, and offering any further assistance I can, such as referrals for financial assistance.” Samantha also helps with sorting donations to be sent out to veterans and service members all over the world. These are just a couple of examples of the services that the Red Cross offers.
Through SAF, the Red Cross works with all branches of the military and provides many different services to both members and their families. The Red Cross provides 24/7 emergency communications services to help get information to military members quickly, and also expedites access to financial assistance from the military aid societies. Family Resiliency Programs are provided to help families cope with deployments, reconnect after a service member returns home, and to explore stress or trauma caused by the situation.
Volunteers like Samantha work all hours to provide care to military families, but also to share information and spread the word about these services to the community. SAF is always in need of volunteers to help with family follow-ups and referrals, lead nonmedical programs and activities in military medical facilities, and to represent SAF at local community events. Making up 90% of the Red Cross workforce, volunteers play a critical role in day-to-day functions like these. Millions of these little touches are what make all the difference.
“I love what this program does,” said Samantha. “So many clients have sincerely thanked us for the help we provide to military families, and each time I have a phone call like that, I am reminded as to why I love this program so much. It is amazing to be a part of something greater than yourself – to be helping families bring their service member home for emergencies and easing their troubles as best as we can.“
For more information on the Services to Armed Forces Program or to become a volunteer, visit the American Red Cross Support Families Website. You can help to touch the lives of military members and their families