Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Salesian High School announce partnership with American Red Cross

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Los Angeles American Red Cross (Red Cross) announced a partnership on October 5th, to use parish halls and school gyms as shelters for emergencies in Southern California, at a school preparedness day and press conference at Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Boyle Heights.

“During his recent visit to the U.S., Pope Francis asked our Catholic parishes and schools to be centers of community where people can trust and help each other,” said Bishop David G. O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “This alliance is an example of how the Archdiocese is putting Pope Francis’ words into action by allowing us to better serve our communities in times of crisis.”

Disasters deprive families of homes and belongings, and may cause major disruptions for children and the community. Prepared shelters within communities are a vital resource to providing warmth, safety, and comfort to those affected by disaster and this first-ever agreement between the Red Cross and a Catholic Archdiocese will help expand shelter capacity to serve communities in need. This partnership is based on a master agreement, with each parish or school deciding whether to participate and apply to be a Red Cross shelter.

“We have a unique faith-based affiliate program that serves as a link for houses of worship to equip leaders, members, and facilities with American Red Cross- approved resources for preparedness and resiliency,” said CEO of the Los Angeles Red Cross Jarrett Barrios. “And this agreement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the first ever in the country, brings this relationship to a whole new level. We know that many communities turn to houses of worship for safety and support during the confusion of a disaster, and we are pleased and proud to welcome our new partners in preparedness.”

The partnership has already benefited Catholic high school students during a pilot online health program this summer where more than 100 students became certified in First Aid and CPR.

Following the announcement, students from Salesian High School and School of Santa Isabel (elementary school) broke out into two workshops: the Disney Pillowcase Project, a specialized emergency preparedness training for elementary school students, and a Teen Preparedness Training. They also learned about how to prepare for and stay safe during an earthquake, by experiencing a simulated earthquake in the County of Los Angeles Fire Department’s “Shakey Quakey School House.”