By Drew McNeil, Communications Volunteer
Red Cross L.A. Region volunteers attended two consecutive weekend events in November at the Los Angeles Plaza Park adjacent to Olvera Street in downtown L.A. as part of its effort to reach out to communities and create awareness for the International Services Restoring Family Links program.
On Sun., Nov. 8, the colorful Dia de los Muertos event celebrated the day of the dead through traditional pre-Colombian festivals, while on Sat., Nov. 14, Brazos Abiertos, a partnership of community organizations to help unaccompanied minors in Los Angeles held an awareness event.
Restoring Family Links (RHL) volunteers attend as many outreach events a month as possible to help reach the communities that potentially need these services the most. RHL provides a critical service to families that have been separated internationally as a result of war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergencies, and who have tried normal channels of communication to every extent possible. By utilizing its vast global network of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement resources the Red Cross L.A. can help find people who are missing or out of contact.
One woman who attended an event was very interested in our services because she had lost touch with her son while he was traveling from El Salvador through Mexico, en route to the United States. The Restoring Family Links volunteers were able to offer her hope and a possible means of locating and reestablishing a connection. “It’s great to be in the position to help people as they try to reconnect with their families,” says longtime volunteer Mike Farrar. “We take it personally and exhaust every avenue, as if we are looking for members of our own families.”
The International Services’ Restoring Family Links program is just one of the many services offered by the American Red Cross. The Region worked on more than 100 cases this year on behalf of individuals and families.
For more information about what Restoring Family Links does, visit http://restoringfamilylinksblog.com. To initiate a search please call (626) 407-4536 or email IntlTracing.LosAngeles.CA@redcross.org.