Red Cross reorganizes with Gloucester-Mathews chapter

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jul 24, 2013 - 02:09 PM

Photo: Patrick Belcher, left, interim executive director for the Red Cross’s Virginia Peninsula Cluster of chapters, discusses volunteering with Mathews resident Lynn Gillikin, right, as Barbara Wesley of the Department of Veterans Services Virginia Wounded Warriors program listens. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Patrick Belcher, left, interim executive director for the Red Cross’s Virginia Peninsula Cluster of chapters, discusses volunteering with Mathews resident Lynn Gillikin, right, as Barbara Wesley of the Department of Veterans Services Virginia Wounded Warriors program listens. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

The American Red Cross has reorganized locally, creating a Gloucester-Mathews chapter, with an office in Gloucester serving residents of both counties.

Patrick Belcher, interim executive director for the Virginia Peninsula Cluster of chapters, told members of the Mathews Resource Council last week that Mathews and Gloucester were once affiliated as a chapter but went their separate ways a number of years ago. Mathews later became part of the York-Poquoson chapter.

Belcher gave a presentation on the services the Red Cross offers, including classes on first aid, CPR (including pet CPR), and babysitting; blood drives; housing assistance after disasters; and emergency notification of armed forces members.

After disasters, he said, the Red Cross provides clothing, food, shelter, mental health and clean-up services to make homes livable once again, and even employment and small business services. On average, he said, one response after a flood or fire costs about $1,000 for housing, food, and clothing, and the Red Cross nationwide responds to a domestic disaster every nine minutes.

"In disasters, the Red Cross is the first to go in," he said. "Whatever you need, the Red Cross is there to help."

Belcher said that 96 percent of Red Cross personnel are volunteers who serve as instructors, office personnel, blood drive staff, and in various other capacities, such as preparing disaster comfort kits for children and adults.