CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Camp Foster branch of the American Red Cross is working to build its volunteer base through increased community outreach and an auction fund-raiser Saturday.

The branch needs volunteer instructors and case workers who provide emergency communication support to deployed servicemembers and their families, said senior station manager Michelle Mays.

"A lot of times the needs of the community cannot be met because we don’t have a lot of instructors so we’ll have to double up on courses," Mays said.

Mays started her current job last month after working as a Red Cross station manager at U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder in Germany, she said.

Officials say rotations and a decrease in interest have led to a slump in volunteer numbers.

Currently, there are about 60 volunteers who service the Marine bases, said field office coordinator Charles Miller. According to the national organization, it has more than 500,000 volunteers worldwide. March is Red Cross month.

Volunteers can serve in several capacities — including providing administrative aid in hospitals, assisting with special projects and working as classroom aides at local military dependent schools.

Volunteers can become certified first aid and CPR instructors after completing a 22-hour course, Miller said.

"I want to be able to maximize the number of people on Okinawa to train to save a life. People depend on it," Mays said.

Perks of volunteering include work experience for resumes and eligibility for $100 a month in child-care reimbursement, Mays said.

Volunteer orientations are held twice a month, she said.

Saturday’s fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. at the Butler Officers Club on Camp Foster. The auction will feature dozens of Oriental rugs and carpets.

Proceeds will help cover training courses and child care reimbursement, Mays said.

For more information, call DSN 645-3800.

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