Islands Red Cross reduces hours starting April 1

The Islands Red Cross chapter will have reduced office hours starting April 1.

According to Executive Director Brian Geer, service to the community will remain the same and staff will continue to work full hours, but the office will only be staffed with volunteers from 1 to 4 p.m.

Geer said the chapter’s two paid employees and its volunteer force are frequently busy preparing for and responding to community disasters, doing things like putting on safety and health presentations or responding to fires.

Currently, the Oak Harbor office, which recently moved to the Seaplane Base from Dock Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Geer said people have come during those hours only to find it closed.

“We’re not meeting that expectation,” he said. “With the new schedule, we can guarantee that there’s someone there for the public.”

While the chapter has about 90 disaster volunteers who are willing to wake up in the middle of the night or donate  weekends to tend to the needy, most people work 9-to-5 jobs during the week and can’t afford to volunteer in the office. Geer said the Oak Harbor office only has about five or six dependable volunteers to handle office operations.

“It’s tough,” Geer said. “People want to volunteer, but they don’t have the time.”

The Service to Armed Forces and Health and Safety classes will continue at their current capacity, and additionally, registration is still being taken for CPR and First Aid classes.

To sign up for classes, donate or to get information on becoming a volunteer, visit www.theislandsred

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