LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Last year, Red Cross volunteers in Southwest Louisiana provided assistance to more than 500 residents who faced home fires and other disasters.
While the non-profit is known for helping others in times of need, it's time to recognize them.
Across the nation, people are celebrating National Volunteer Week, and who better to recognize than volunteers with the American Red Cross?
"90% of our workforce is made up of volunteers so we're taking this week to celebrate and thank all of the people of SWLA who volunteer for the American Red Cross," said SWLA Red Cross Board Chair, Brian Barton.
And among those volunteers is a group of students.
"We love getting involved with our community and our university," explained Katie Quibodeaux, President of the McNeese Red Cross Club.
The club was founded two years ago and currently has about 15 registered volunteers.
"We do all kinds of events on campus. Last week we did a cold and flu tabling, where we gave out advice to keep yourself safe during cold and flu season and we handed out tissues," explained Quibodeaux.
The club even helps with first aid during McNeese football games. But they also work with the community.
"Just last week they participated in MaciFest where they did our Pillowcase project. They also work in first aid disaster teams where they go out to fires to help families in the middle of the night when their homes catch on fire," added Burton.
In addition to that, volunteers in this group stay extra busy as most are also full-time students.
"It's not easy, as I know, being a student and being in all the other organizations plus volunteering your time," said Quibodeaux.
And because they go through the same training as regular Red Cross volunteers, they'll head to a mock disaster in Lafayette, Saturday.
"And they're going to station everyone in different job responsibilities. We're going to be inside a shelter setting up cots and registering everyone that comes in for the disaster," explained Quibodeaux.
But it's thanks to these volunteers, who get the training, that keep our community safe.
"We would not be able to do this without the work of our volunteers," said Burton.
And while this week is about recognizing volunteers it's also about recruiting more of them.
For information on how to volunteer: www.redcross.org/swla
You can also call 337-478-5122.
Other university clubs are attending Saturday's South Louisiana Red Cross disaster drill, which is also in line with Global Youth Service Day.
For information on the McNeese Red Cross Club: https://www.facebook.com/mcneeseredcrossclub#!/pages/Mcneese-Red-Cross-Club/169541443196857