By Pauline Jelinek

Keith Sam, Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter

Fate brought Keith Sam to the American Red Cross. And it’s opened a new world to the Long Beach, Ca., volunteer whose day job is in film advertising for movie studios and in film distribution. “I’m finding that I like making sure that people are OK,” said Keith, who has been helping feed people stricken by Hurricane Irma. And he’s finding that people suffering after the storm also worry about the welfare of others.

American Red Cross volunteer Keith Sam drives a food truck for the organization, distributing free hot meals and cold water into neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Irma. More than 160 emergency response vehicle teams are helping deliver food and supplies across the hardest hit areas in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. (Photo by Jill Bode for the American Red Cross)

A volunteer for two and a half years, Keith has helped Red Cross feeding teams in Florida, passing out ice and yogurt as well as hot meals. “It seems that in a disaster people can revert to their primal nature or they can become very gracious and grateful,” he said, noting people were very thankful for the help. And he was touched by how careful they were not to take too much of what was being delivered so they weren’t depriving others in need. “Even those that are in dire straits, they are still concerned for their neighbors.”

Keith joined the Red Cross after he got a speeding ticket and “the judge gave me an option to save $1000 dollars by volunteering 40-some hours” at a blood drive. “And I kept doing it,” he says of his Red Cross work. “It was an around-about way that I got in, but I found my way here.”


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