Red Cross looks to boost membership

The Jamaica Red Cross is seeking to ramp up its numbers and visibility beyond its current corps of 3,000 paying members and 6,000 volunteers.

The humanitarian organisation has underscored that its efforts may go unnoticed because persons cannot readily identify its representatives and the scale of their welfare activity.

Speaking at a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum at the newspaper’s central Kingston offices, Audrey Mullings, executive board member of the Red Cross, said that although the organisation might not have high visibility, it is quietly, but vigorously, working below the radar.

“You may not see us, but we are there,” said Mullings, citing that hers was the only welfare agency that went into Tivoli Gardens with food and medicine immediately after the bloody firefight between the security forces and gunmen loyal to drug kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in May 2010.

“Because of our humanitarian principle, you may not see us making a lot of noise. We go in very quietly. In terms of numbers, we are limited at the moment, but we do go in and provide support … .”

Allasandra Chung, chairperson of volunteer and membership development at the Red Cross, said the organisation is seeking to secure more paraphernalia like bibs, shirts, and caps to better identify personnel when working in disaster zones.

The welfare group is seeking to raise the threshold of its annual membership fee from $1,000 to $3,500. That proposal, however, will have to be ratified by a central committee.

Mullings, however, says that the Red Cross has tried to keep fees nominal in order to not discourage new membership.