The American Red Cross announced last week that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation for San Benito County.
The nonprofit Community Foundation was formed in 1992 and is a well-known and respected philanthropic organization that enhances the quality of life in San Benito County for those who live, visit or work there, says a press release from the American Red Cross. The foundation does this by supporting about 160 nonprofits and donors who serve the county.
“Our grant process is focused on supporting nonprofit organizations that can have the biggest impact on the people of the county,” said Gary Bryne, CEO of the Community Foundation for San Benito County. “We fund a variety of nonprofit organizations that provide ongoing social services and that are especially active during emergencies and natural disasters. The Red Cross has also provided some very good workshops such as on First Aid, Disaster Outreach and Preparedness.”
With the demand for Red Cross services continuously growing, the Red Cross must be ready to help on a bigger scale and more efficiently than ever before, says the press release. This Community Impact grant will assist the Red Cross in rolling out a new software platform called RC Care to increase efficiency in services delivered in response to disasters. RC Care centralizes data into one platform. This new tool will track everyone who needs help after disasters, allowing the Red Cross to manage all interactions with those affected, for every service rendered, and have a complete understanding of each individual or family’s unique needs.
RC Care enables disaster health and mental health services, lodging and financial assistance, and other services to be processed through an electronic delivery system. A new component of the RC Care platform is the ability to disburse financial assistance through an electronic funds transfer rather than by providing a card.
“The generous grant will help us provide services to our community members more quickly and efficiently,” said Helen Cosentino-Massimino, American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager for San Benito County. “With RC Care we can reduce intake time, and even communicate via text and email seamlessly through one shared system among our workforce helping to ensure equitable distribution of resources.”
In addition to rolling out this new program, over the past year, Cosentino-Massimino indicated that the Red Cross provided a variety of services and support for a wide range of incidents ranging from a number of single-family home fires, to a Temporary Evacuation Point in response to a wildfire in the area, as well as preparedness training for residents of all ages.
She noted that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Red Cross was also active in the county with a variety of in-person activities, including the Sound the Alarm initiative, in which residents are provided with free smoke alarms and home fire safety education.
The Red Cross also worked with local school-aged children, helping them to create escape plans and emergency preparedness kits. This youth preparedness program, called The Pillowcase Project, teaches children about fire safety by way of the use of a pillowcase and preparedness games.