Last Updated on February 23, 2021 by American Red Cross
SOURCE: News release from American Red Cross
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross has launched a paper-based Condolence Care Toolkit in multiple languages—including French, Arabic, Hakha, Burmese and Spanish—to help grieving individuals and families navigate the details and cope with the stress of losing a loved one to COVID-19.
The effort is an offshoot of the national Red Cross’ Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC) website and Condolence Care Call Center, which launched in response to the enormous loss of life caused by the pandemic. The Indiana Region’s Condolence Care Toolkit is paper-based to help reach those in communities with limited access to reliable internet. Materials will be distributed to community organizations, such as churches, funeral homes, government agencies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and health organizations to enable community leaders to share with their community members who have experienced a loss.
“With more than 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S. to-date, there are so many people suffering the loss of a loved one—and they don’t always have access to virtual resource(s),” said Leslie Montgomery, regional disaster officer for the American Red Cross – Indiana Region. “The Indiana Region is driving this effort because we want to reach as many as we can, in their language, and at the grassroots level.”
The VFAC’s website has received more than 64,000 visits, and the call center has fielded more than 1000 service requests, many of which were clients searching for resources. The Red Cross call center agents—all Disaster Health Services, Disaster Mental Health and Disaster Spiritual Care volunteers—provide comfort and compassion as they assist callers who have lost a loved one or callers who are in distress to help them find financial resources and support groups in their local areas. As part of this effort, the Red Cross has also trained more than 2,100 participants in Psychological First Aid or Coping in Today’s World and has supported frontline workers throughout the country who are dealing with incredibly stressful situations due to COVID-19.
The Indiana Region’s new materials, which include posters, condolence cards and a guide for dealing with the many tasks related to the death of a loved one, direct those grieving to local resources as well as to the national Red Cross’ Virtual Family Assistance Center site and the Condolence Care Call Center.
If community members need help or if community leaders want a copy of the paper-based toolkit, they can download the materials here. To receive a translated version, community members and leaders can access those materials here.
About the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross: The Indiana Region serves 104 counties across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois through its six-chapter areas: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Greater Indianapolis (Regional Headquarters).
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.