By Digital Communications Manager, Ashley Henyan

A week after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, the American Red Cross continues working to help people affected by this devastating storm. Volunteers are providing food, shelter, health services and emotional support, and Red Cross vehicles are on the ground in local communities delivering meals and relief supplies to people as they begin the lengthy process of cleaning up their homes.

Irma ravaged much of Florida’s 65,755 square miles. And, more than 670,000 people are still without power. But, every day the Red Cross is expanding its reach, providing more help in more communities in the form of meals, relief supplies and shoulders to lean on.

Here in Los Angeles, the support and generosity from local Red Crossers has been inspiring. And, as an employee at the Red Cross, whose job it is to tell the Red Cross story, I have been lucky to witness many acts of kindness.

In fact, the more I talk with people around the office at the Los Angeles Region Headquarters, the more I hear stories, Red Cross stories, about employees and volunteers. But, I am also hearing about the friends and family members of local Red Crossers, who throughout this tragic time have become a part of our loving and caring extended Red Cross family.

Just two cubicles down from where I sit in Row 5, is Federica Brecha’s desk. Fede is a brand new Red Crosser and a member of our Americorps class of 2018. An L.A. native and recent graduate of Duke University, Fede has friends finishing up college all around the country. One of those friends is Lindsey Nerbonne, a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire. Ever since she heard about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, Lindsey wanted to help out as much as she could. Now, she is climbing mountains for money—for the American Red Cross! New Hampshire has 48, 4,000 ft. mountains, and Lindsey plans to climb as many of them as she can before the winter weather starts. For each mountain she climbs, she is asking for a donation on her Go Fund Me Page to benefit the Red Cross. In Lindsey’s words, “The people of Houston are climbing a huge mountain of their own right now, and every little bit of money helps.”

One more cubicle down, and still in Row 5, sits Marilyn Jiménez Dávila. As a Business Operations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Region, Marilyn supports the mission of the Red Cross every single day. But now, she is doing even more. She is training vigorously, to run a marathon in support of the Red Cross! On October 8th she will head off to Chicago to race for the Red Cross in the Chicago Marathon, with Team Red Cross.  But she won’t be alone. Running right alongside her will be her friends, happily supporting her commitment to help those in need.

Even closer to home, although they live in Annapolis, MD, my own sister and brother in-law are giving in every way they can. On a vacation in Europe when both Harvey and Irma hit, they relied on me for updates on the storms, as well as on how the Red Cross was responding and helping those in need. Now that they are back in the U.S., they have donated to the American Red Cross through their company, United Health Group, who is generously double matching employee donations. And, they have also donated to the Red Cross by giving their hotel points, through Club Carlson-Carlson Worldwide.

I think I can speak for all Red Crossers in saying, Thank You! We are grateful for our entire extended Red Cross family and continue to be motivated by your compassion and support!

If you are interested in helping people affected by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma, please text HARVEY or IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit


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  1. So grateful to be a small part of it. A wonderful, heartwarming article. Thank you, Ashley.

  2. I have been telling folks on an almost daily basis that they do not have to deploy across the Country to be a valuable volunteer. There are so many opportunities to volunteer locally.

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