Not all heroes wear capes, but some wear an American Red Cross vest. The American Red Cross is not-for-profit and one of our nation’s most well-known humanitarian organizations that has been helping people in times of need for over 130 years. The American Red Cross is a voluntary organization that provides relief to victims all over the world. Nationwide, the American Red Cross has more than 500,000 volunteers and depends upon the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a tradition of declaring March as “Red Cross Month” across the United States. Red Cross month is a great way to recognize all of the efforts of the generous individuals across the world who make this organization possible.
Unfortunately, disaster can strike anytime, and anywhere. Each year, the American Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters. These include house fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, explosions, transportation accidents, among other man-made disasters. Red Cross provides emergency housing for fire victims, health department-approved shelters, as well as food and healthcare services.
Military members, veterans and their families benefit greatly from Red Cross in ways such as emergency communications, training, support for wounded warriors and veterans and access to community resources. Red Cross provides more than 391,000 services to these members annually.
CPR, First Aid, water safety and many other life-saving skill trainings are available through The American Red Cross. Many jobs require up to date trainings due to the nature of the job such as public health nurses and emergency response coordinators, but others may also benefit as well even if they are not required to do so. Being trained in a life-saving skill such as CPR can be a great asset in case an emergency should arise.
The Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) is proud to partner with the American Red Cross. We prepare for and respond to emergencies that can and do impact Meigs County including but not limited to flooding and extreme heat. We conduct public shelter inspections, if shelters are established as the result of an emergency. In addition, the Meigs Multi-Purpose Health Center (in which the MCHD offices are located) is serviced by a CAT generator allowing for our facility have electricity to serve as a shelter in times of need.
How can you help? Visit redcross.org to learn how to get involved by:
Volunteering: The Red Cross is powered by a workforce of more than 90 percent volunteers. There are many ways to help depending on your local chapter’s needs, from providing relief during disasters to installing lifesaving smoke alarms in neighbor’s homes. In some areas, you can support military members, veterans and their families, help as a blood donor ambassador to ensure blood donors have a pleasant and fulfilling experience, or volunteer as a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.
Giving blood: Make an appointment to donate blood or platelets to save lives.
Learning lifesaving skills: Register for a class to learn first aid, CPR and other skill
Donating: On March 25, Red Cross Giving Day, donate at redcross.org/givingday to #help1family who has lost nearly everything to a disaster in the U.S. Your gift can provide hope and urgent relief like food, shelter and other essentials. In fact, every eight minutes, someone affected by a disaster in the U.S. is helped by donations to the Red Cross. Last year’s weather was so severe that Red Cross volunteers — many who answered the call to help more than once — worked with partners to provide more than 300 days of emergency shelter for families displaced by disasters across the country.
Any donation makes a difference — and are key to saving lives because they fund nearly 100 percent of Red Cross disaster relief activities. For example, a gift of $95 can provide a family of three with a day’s worth of food, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus blankets and other essentials.
For more information, please visit redcross.org.
Shauna Chapman is a clerical specialist at the Meigs County Health Department.