The American Red Cross is currently dealing with a disaster of its own as they implement a 25 percent cutback in staff, including the Santa Clarita office coordinator.
“About 20 people were laid off on Tuesday,” explained Charlie Sardou, public information officer for the Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. “Donations are down. Things were looking good this year, but next year it was pretty clear we were going to have a shortfall.”
The Red Cross’s Los Angeles office is responsible for about two-thirds of Los Angeles County, as well as parts of Inyo and Mono counties. Antelope Valley is a separate office.
Eight offices currently serve the 8 million people living in that area, but some of those might close.
“The Santa Clarita Valley as a whole is one of the strongest communities in the LA chapter, if not the strongest,” Sardou said. “A lot of that comes from the strong support that the Red Cross has traditionally had in the community.”
While the Red Cross is primarily a volunteer-run organization, the group will have to rely even more on volunteers in the community to keep it going.
From all accounts, the Santa Clarita office will remain open, even though the person in charge is losing her job. Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valley offices will now share one coordinator. There will be no cutback in classes.
“We are almost wholly dependent on donations from the public and this has proven to be a difficult time for individuals, businesses and corporations to give to the Red Cross,” said Paul Schulz, CEO for the Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles.
“We will have a staffing presence in the community, but we’re not exactly sure how things will settle after the restructuring,” he added.
Donna Nuzzi, Emergency Services Supervisor for the City of Santa Clarita, said that she is heartbroken at seeing another person lose their job, especially when new programs were being planned.
“It all comes down to fundraising,” she said. “We had so much momentum, but times are tough.”
“There’s certainly a need here,” she continued. “I know the office got two calls last week for house fires (The Red Cross sends a team out to help families displaced by fire) and the Disaster Response Team gets called out at least twice a month. We trained 6,000 people last year in first aid, CPR and water safety.”