Posted by Bill Osborne
Tamica Smith-Jeuitt Executive Director of the Red Cross Chapter of Southwest Mississippi spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the club's September 29 meeting. The Southwest Mississippi Chapter is responsible for providing emergency assistance services to residents of 21 Mississippi counties. The Chapter is in the Alabama Mississippi Region of the Red Cross.
Currently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross is working closely with public health officials to ensure the safety of local communities and its workforce. All humanitarian servces buildings are closed with the exception of hosting training classes and blood collections. Since March 17, all Alabama Mississippi team members are working from home until further notice. Personal protection equipment (PPE) has been distributed to staff and volunteers. PPE is also being used at blood donation sites and other Red Cross facilities. Across the country, Red Cross has spent approximately $69 million on PPE with a cost of around $1.7 million for the Alabama Mississippi Region.
Each line of Red Cross's service is responding to the challenges of a COVID-19 operating environment in fulfilling its mission. The four lines of service included are: Services to Armed Forces, Volunteer Services, Biomedical, and Disaster Services. Specific changes in these Service areas are:
  • Services to Armed forces - Virtual Critical Community Cases & Resiliency Workshops
  • Volunteer services - Virtual recruitment & engagement
  • Biomedical - Convalsecent Plasma
  • Disaster services - non congregate sheltering
  • Virtual Casework
Ms. Smit-Jeuitt gave specific details of these changes in each of the service areas including a story about a convalescent plasma donor and specifically how the disaster sevice team has modified its practices. Since March 2020,  the SW MS chapter has been busy with home fire responses. It has responded to 936 home fires affecting 2883 people and ithe chapter has provided over $542,000 in financial assistance to home fire victims. The chapter has also responded to assist 1660 tornado victims, serving 3588 meals and providing $246,000 in assistance since March 1, 2020. The chapter has created a Virtual Family Assistance Center to families who have lost loved ones. Resources provided include:
  • Behavioral Health
  • Spiritual Care
  • Health Services
  • Training for Community Caregivers
  • Connections to additional local, state, & national resources
Ms. Smith-Jeuitt also reminded the club how its members can help by donating funds, donating blood, and volunteering. She concluded her presentation by giving the example of an 11-year-old boy from Madison, Mississippi who donated $342 that he had been saving for a trip to Hawaii to the Red Cross.
We thank Ms.Smith-Jeuitt for her presentation and for her service to the citizens of Mississippi. She is shown during her presentation in the following photo:
Her entire presentation is available online at