By Drew McNeil, L.A. Region Volunteer
International Services volunteers continued to inform different L.A. Region ethnic communities about the Red Cross Restoring Family Links program by participating in the annual two-day Asian American Expo, held at the Pomona Fairplex January 16-17.
Staffing the event all weekend allowed volunteers to showcase the ways in which the program reconnects individuals with loved ones and family who they have lost contact with due to conflict, natural disaster, or migration. “It’s great that this program can help reconnect people all around the world, but none of that can happen unless the community knows this program exists,” explains Doug Wiita, a lead Restoring Family Links caseworker in Los Angeles.
An estimated 100,000 people packed into six exhibition halls that housed more than 1,200 exhibitors and 190 food vendors over the weekend. While the majority of those in attendance were of Chinese descent, the event brought together people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world. Utilizing materials in multiple languages, the Red Cross volunteers were able to explain the program to hundreds of people who stopped by the booth.
“I think most of the people hadn’t heard about our program, but when they did they were very surprised because it is such a unique program to offer, free of charge,” said Cris Tsai, a volunteer Restoring Family Links caseworker.
The reason for outreach is to spread awareness, so that those who may one day need Restoring Family Links services know about us before they need us.
Restoring Family Links attends as many outreach events as possible in as many diverse communities as we can. If you or your organization is having an event where the attendees could benefit from free international reconnection services, or if you or someone you know has lost contact with a relative or loved one due to conflict, natural disaster, or migration, please call (626) 407-4536 or email IntlTracing.LosAngeles.CA@redcross.org.
To learn more about American Red Cross International Services go to: http://www.redcross.org/ca/los-angeles