Red Cross executive helped launch disaster financial assistance program for Hurricane Harvey in 2017

Part II of Todd’s reflections on his deployment three years agoClick here to read Pt. 1

By Todd James, Executive Director, American Red Cross of North Central Ohio

August 26, 2020 – Note: At the time of this posting, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, Hurricane Laura was expected to gain major hurricane status – possibly category 4 – and make landfall in the same general area of the Gulf Coast ravaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Six volunteers from Northern Ohio were deployed prior to Laura’s landfall.

Ten days after returning home from Austin, where I had been deployed to lead communications following Hurricane Harvey as part of the American Red Cross’ Public Affairs team, I got a call asking if I could go back to Texas to lead a team in Houston. I am blessed to have a very understanding, compassionate wife who said, as she always does, “People need help, you need to go.” So, I headed out for my third deployment in six weeks.

Todd James in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2017

Here’s the thing about being deployed: there are thousands of Red Cross responders who answer the call for help every day. Even though we come from all across the country, these operations often feel like a big family reunion. So many people I had worked with before and since were in Houston to help. And so much help was needed! Thousands of people were still staying in shelters, while hundreds of thousands were beginning the long road to recovery. 

3…2…1…Launch!

Thousands of Red Cross responders worked ceaselessly, providing shelter, food, comfort and much more, as they always do when disasters happen.

In the face of the unprecedented scope of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Red Cross was about to take a quantum leap forward in disaster response, launching the new Immediate Assistance Program (IAP). The IAP gives us a way to almost instantly verify people’s needs and provide immediate financial assistance so they can begin their recovery. Until now, this could mean days and, in large events, even weeks as Red Cross teams went house to house to verify damage and need, meet with families and provide financial help.

With the IAP, people apply with a phone call and with the help of technology and digital mapping, we verify their need and deposit help directly into their account or for pick up at their local Walmart. What a game changer! My team couldn’t have been any busier getting the information out so people could take advantage of this help.

Now, as you can imagine with any new technology like this being launched on this scale, there were some glitches. But thousands of people every day received the help they needed to get started on their recovery. In the first five months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, 575,000 households received $230 million to use for help with groceries, gas, clothing, rent, bills and other needs for their families.

Since launching the IAP, the Red Cross has continued to improve the process. It’s now a regular part of our disaster response.

Outstanding in our field

A favorite story from my time in Texas happened one afternoon while my staff partner Matt and I were following one of our mobile feeding vehicles to get pictures and talk to the families they were helping. We received calls from our headquarters for interview requests to talk about the relief operation. So somewhere in the middle of rural south Texas, standing by a fenced-in pasture and surrounded by longhorn cattle, I was on my phone talking to a radio station in Maryland while Matt was on his phone being interviewed by a radio station in Phoenix, AZ. Welcome to the glamorous world of disaster Public Affairs!

After two weeks, I finished my deployment and returned home. But three years later, families and communities are still working to recover from the storm, and the Red Cross is still there supporting them. You can see a full report on our efforts at http://www.redcross.org/harveyrecoverygrants

Red Cross executive reflects upon Hurricane Harvey deployment

Disaster struck the Gulf Coast three years ago

By Todd James, Executive Director, American Red Cross of North Central Ohio

August 25, 2020- Note: At the time of this posting on Tuesday, August 25, the third anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Laura was expected to gain major hurricane strength and target the same area along the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning, August 27.   

Three days before Hurricane Harvey would make landfall, I returned home from a 10 day deployment in Hopkinsville, KY. The small town of a couple of thousand was the point of totality for the recent total eclipse and expected an influx of up to 300,000 visitors to witness the event, putting a severe strain on local resources in the case of an emergency. I had been home for a few days when I got the call to head to Houston. The next day, all travel into the area was suspended because of the storm. I was diverted to Baton Rouge, where American Red Cross teams were staging to deliver supplies and help when the conditions were safe to travel.

Todd James helping hand out water from an emergency response vehicle (ERV) outside of Sealy, TX

Austin City Limits

In Baton Rouge, hundreds of Red Cross responders waited and prepared as Harvey continued to batter Texas and Louisiana. In total, 60 inches of rain flooded Texas and Louisiana with 33 trillion gallons of water, creating unprecedented flooding and destruction. As the storm ended, I headed to Texas. But instead of Houston, I was sent to Austin to support the response. Thousands of families had been driven from the Gulf Coast and were headed north seeking safety, many to the Austin area. 

Todd and his team in Austin with Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross, when she came to Austin

I arrived in Austin and met the Public Affairs team I would be leading. Our job was to communicate critical information about what help was available, where to find safe shelter and to let the American people know how they could support our efforts. 

Harvey was my 21st deployment, but it was the first time I’ve seen our team set up a mega-shelter for more than a thousand people. In just a few days, a large, empty warehouse was turned into a clean, safe shelter for hundreds of families with a kids play area, tented shelters and an area for pets, an internet café, showers, a cafeteria, a medical area and other amenities to give displaced families the best care possible. It was an amazing effort!  And that was just a small part of the work done in response to this disaster. 

Todd helping 7 year old Carsyn Collins unload about 200 toys she collected and donated for kids in Houston

The Red Cross moved quickly to address people’s immediate needs after Hurricane Harvey with thousands of trained workers supporting emergency relief efforts by: 

  • providing more than 414,800 overnight shelter stays with partners
  • serving over 4.5 million meals and snacks with partners
  • making more than 127,000 health and mental health contacts
  • distributing more than 1.6 million relief items

providing more than $345 million in financial assistance to hundreds of thousands of households

 Little Ol’ Band from Texas        

There are a hundred stories to tell from this deployment. One of my favorites is the day my partner and I visited several shelters in the rural areas that were hit by the storm. One town we visited was LaGrange, TX. Being a rock n’ roll fan, I couldn’t head into town without playing LaGrange by ZZ Top at a very loud volume. Luckily, my partner was a fan too!

Todd with local volunteer Tom Hill at a warehouse in San Antonio

I spent 10 days in Austin, working with dedicated, passionate people doing all they could to give these families a sense of safety, comfort and hope while getting ready for the recovery effort to come. I didn’t know it then, but I would very soon be part of that effort.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Northern Ohio volunteers deploy across the country to assist residents in need

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio

August 24, 2020- Volunteers from Northern Ohio are preparing for the storms taking aim at the Gulf Coast and have responded to the current wildfires in California and the derecho that slammed the Midwest two weeks ago.

One of the joys of working with this team of volunteers is that several days ago we were strangers and in a short time we have become a team. We have no bosses. Everyone just seems to recognize each other’s strengths and everyone just naturally flows to what they do best to compliment the team. It is a beautiful thing to watch.”- John Lavelle, Northern Ohio volunteer

Three volunteers have deployed to California, 5 are providing relief to residents in Iowa, and 7 have been assigned to help with any tropical storm/hurricane relief efforts required because of Marco and Laura.

John Lavelle, a volunteer who is part of the Red Cross’ Iowa disaster response team, recently provided an update to the Northern Ohio Region about his experience:

“One of the first things you learn on deployment is that flexibility is paramount. Coming to Iowa, the original assignment was for feeding. However, after about two hours, the assignment became what they call a special strike force, where our primary mission was to find out what the residents needed and where to distribute the items.

One of our stops on Saturday (August 22) was a large apartment complex, which gave me tremendous appreciation for individuals who provide food to refugee camps in the hardest hit areas around the world. Trying to maintain organization and provide the items people needed at times overwhelmed us. Experience is by far the best teacher, and following this experience, the team came up with a plan as to what to do if a similar situation happens again.

One image that stands out to me was when a resident wanted a case of water and a large bag of 12 meals, both heavy objects. We told her we would hold one of the items for her until she came back, but she refused and placed the case of water on her head and carried the box of food in her arms. She made it appear as if she was born to do this.

One of the joys of working with this team of volunteers is that several days ago we were strangers and in a short time we have become a team. We have no bosses. Everyone just seems to recognize each other’s strengths and everyone just naturally flows to what they do best to compliment the team. It is a beautiful thing to watch.”

In addition, several volunteers responded to seven home fires in Northern Ohio over the weekend, providing immediate financial assistance to more than 30 children and adults.

August 17, 2020. Veterans Memorial Colosseum Red Cross operated shelter. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Red Cross nurse, Helen Caves of Indiana, talked with shelter client Grace about her health conditions and the state of her home while providing her a safe place to rest. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Additional volunteers are needed to train for disaster responses, specifically to respond to home fires locally and to  staff shelters during national disaster responses. Licensed health care professionals are also needed to help people in disaster shelters.

People in good health and who are willing and able to receive free Red Cross training and can deploy for up to two weeks can visit www.redcross.org/volunteertoday, or can call 1-800-RED CROSS. The number one priority of the American Red Cross is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, blood donors and recipients, and the people we serve, and we have implemented several measures, in accordance with CDC guidelines, to protect our workers and those who need our assistance.

Even during pandemic, Northern Ohio volunteers deploy to help those affected by disasters

By Eric Alves, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio

August 21, 2020- For the past six months, we have faced a new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learned to make kitchen tables into offices and classrooms, learned to celebrate birthdays by standing in our front yards and wave as well-wishers drive by and we have even learned to make wearing masks when shopping or eating at a restaurant our new normal. However, one thing that has not changed, despite the pandemic – disasters do not stop, which means the American Red Cross will be there to support residents and communities affected.

This year’s disaster season has already been historically active. In any year, this is a cause for concern, but with a pandemic, the stakes are increased as the logistics are more difficult and there is an extra layer of safety that needs to be taken into consideration.

John Lavelle: “The tall building is our headquarters, the stained glass window is by Grant Wood, this is one of Cedar Rapids pride and joys.”

While the Red Cross continues to follow CDC guidelines, as well as implementing addtional protocols to keep disaster workers and residents safe, it is thanks to our selfless volunteers that we can continue to perform our mission.

Photo credit- John Lavelle, American Red Cross volunteer

Last week, a derecho devastated parts of Iowa. To assist with the Red Cross response, the Northern Ohio Region deployed 5 disaster volunteers. One of the volunteers that deployed was John Lavelle. John is from Avon Lake and a member of the North Central Ohio Chapter.

While in Iowa, John provided his thoughts and observation on the Red Cross’ disaster response:

“The area of disaster is so large that my job is to go out and find people that need help. We get connected that people have been given no assistance and my task is to go out and find them. I’m mostly working with isolated trailer parks and the destruction to them is immense. We find people living in tents and our immediate objective is to get them housing.”

Are you healthy and willing to travel, when necessary, to lend a helping hand? Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday for more information and to apply to become a volunteer.

August 17, 2020. Veterans Memorial Colosseum Red Cross operated shelter. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After a long day, shelter client Grace takes a nap knowing she is supported and cared for. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Are you unable to deploy but you have an interest to help local communities and residents in need? Don’t worry! We have positions like blood donor ambassador that will allow you to spread the Red Cross’ mission and help others while being close to home.

Why celebrate World Humanitarian Day?

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

August 19, 2020- If you watch or read world news, you undoubtedly know there are millions of people who live in conditions that we would consider “intolerable.” Those who strive every day to prevent and alleviate this human suffering, without regard to race, creed, sex, color or nationality, are humanitarians, and those are the ones honored each August 19th.

Every volunteer with the American Red Cross is a humanitarian. Here in Northern Ohio, our volunteers respond every day to local disasters, such as home fires, to help residents in need and provide comfort and support.

Our volunteers even deploy across the country to help provide humanitarian assistance. During the early hurricane and wildfire season in 2020, Northern Ohio has deployed more than 10 disaster volunteers to assist affected communities.

The Problem

You don’t have to listen to the news very long to comprehend all the challenges in the world today:

  • Armed conflicts are killing innocent civilians without regard to international conventions
  • Infectious diseases are becoming more prevalent and harder to contain
  • Lack of employment, housing, nutrition and medical supplies are all worldwide concerns
  • Climate change has decimated crop growing regions and endangered coastal areas with flooding
  • Authoritarian leaders have pillaged country’s coffers and jailed those who dare to protest

The Need

According to the 2020 United Nations (UN) Global Humanitarian Overview, responding to these needs is going to require an unprecedented effort.

  • 166,500,000 People are in need worldwide
  • 108,800,000 People have been targeted for aid by the UN. (Some countries will not allow UN aid)
  • $29,700,000,000 Required to meet their needs
  • $15,960,000,000 Funding received from UN members
  • $13,740,000,000 Yes, that’s a $13-billion shortfall for meeting the anticipated needs this year.

That’s a crisis in itself…

But, that’s not all

The above numbers represent day-to-day requirements for those in need worldwide. What they don’t include are disasters, which the Red Cross forecasts will be increasing each year due to climate change.

That is where the Red Cross comes in. Helping people prepare for disasters, responding immediately after disasters, and helping people reconnect and rebuild lives in the aftermath are all specialties of the Red Cross.

August 17, 2020. Veterans Memorial Colosseum Red Cross operated shelter. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Fried chicken and vegetables is the ultimate comfort meal, served to shelter client Brian by volunteer Robert. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Moreover, the Red Cross supplies humanitarians, more than 90% of whom are volunteers, who give of their time and talents to provide hope and comfort to others in their time of need.

Across the United States, nearly 372,000 volunteers give a little or give a lot of their time to be on-call for the next home fire, flooding event or other emergency. Won’t you consider becoming part of this country’s largest humanitarian organization? Explore the opportunities you might be qualified for by clicking here.  And remember to celebrate all the humanitarians actively working around the world each August 19.

Get emergency answers from your pocket with Red Cross apps

By Jason Copsey, American Red Cross volunteer

August 17, 2020- Preparation is the key to staying safe when disaster strikes. The American Red Cross continually promotes disaster preparedness measures, and offers a wide range of resources to help everyone stay as safe as possible during disaster season.

Red Cross mobile safety apps are powerful tools designed to place potentially life-saving resources in the palm of your hand. These free, easy to use mobile apps offer services that range from day to day useful information such as scheduling blood donations and common first aid, to disaster response information to keep you safe when you need it most.

The Emergency app is particularly helpful during disaster season, when weather is at its worst. Early warning is one of the most critical elements of any preparedness plan. With the Emergency app, users can monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts.  The app features expert advice on what to do in case of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, home fires, wildfires and more.

The Emergency app’s Family Safe feature allows users to notify loved ones in an affected area of an impending emergency or high-risk event. Recipients receive alert details, including specific safety recommendations, and can respond to indicate they are either safe or in need of assistance. This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency app.

Tennessee Tornadoes 2020

March 4, 2020. Nashville, Tennessee. Northern Ohio Red Cross volunteer, Doug Bardwell, reviews the damage caused by the destructive tornado on this neighborhood. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

The app also provides emergency first aid detail for heart attacks, heat-related emergencies, water safety information and more. Preloaded content ensures users can access guidance even if connectivity is lost.

The free Emergency App is available at redcross.org/apps. Or, you can text: “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999.

Other Red Cross mobile apps include disaster-specific tools for users who live in geographies where certain risks are more common. These apps include Tornado, Flood, Hurricane and Earthquake. Each of these offer English and Spanish language options and are available at redcross.org/apps.

To learn more about the free mobile apps offered by the Red Cross, visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.html.

International Youth Day 2020: Youth Engagement for Global Action

By Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross volunteer

August 12, 2020- Many deserve recognition right now for contributions they are making in their communities amidst current daily unpredictabilities. But on Aug. 12, we recognize all youth change makers, near and far. International Youth Day has been recognized by the United Nations since 1999, and this year’s theme is Youth Engagement for Global Action. Thanks to continuous advancements in technology, having a global voice for action is more possible than ever, and young people everywhere are taking advantage of it.

From volunteering their time with local organizations in high school and college, to attending rallies for causes they believe in, to using their social media accounts as a platform to spread messages about global issues,  young people today have a great desire to create social change both locally and globally. One issue that local youths have taken on in the past is called the “Measles Initiative” at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio.

“The Measles Initiative” at this school was inspired by the American Red Cross Measles and Rubella Initiative, which is able to use a $2 donation to save the life of a child by providing vaccinations all around the world. By 2017, the young group at Gilmour Academy had already raised $30,000 to provide thousands of children with vaccinations that would allow them to grow up to one day make their own marks on the world.

Measles & Rubella Immunization Campaign Kenya 2018

September 27, 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. Prince Osinachi receives a measles-rubella vaccine in Nairobi, Kenya. The Red Cross has educated me and my neighbors about the importance of our children receiving vaccinations. My son was 4 months late receiving one of his measles doses, so I was afraid of taking him to the health center but the volunteer convinced me to go, says Prince’s mother, Lydia Odinga. Lydia received a visit from Red Cross volunteer, Felista Njenga, who helps ensure kids in the dense urban community receive lifesaving vaccines such as those for measles and rubella. I volunteer because, as a mother, my desire is to have a healthier community free of diseases, says Felista. Local Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door to identify children who are missing routine immunizations, update vaccination records at local health centers, encourage parents and caregivers to have their children vaccinated, and follow up with families to confirm receipt of the recommended vaccinations. Each year in Kenya, more than 350,000 children miss their scheduled routine vaccinations leaving them vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and rubella. The American Red Cross and the Kenya Red Cross have been working together to strengthen community-level routine immunization systems in both rural and urban counties. Measles is one of the most contagious and severe childhood diseases. Every day, it takes the lives of hundreds of children around the world. Even if a child survives, measles can cause permanent disabilities, such as blindness or brain damage. But there is hope. Since 2001, the American Red Cross and our partners in the Measles & Rubella Initiative have vaccinated more than 2 billion children around the globe. The Red Cross plays a pivotal role in vaccination campaigns worldwide: local volunteers use mass media, rallies, door-to-door visits and educational entertainment to reach families who do not have access to routine health services.

Measles is one of the most contagious childhood diseases in the world. Measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000. However, it continues to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Accessibility to vaccinations is crucial, since even if a child survives after having the disease, they will most likely have permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, deafness and more. Over 20.3 million lives have been saved thanks to measles vaccinations, and efforts like the “Measles Initiative” from Gilmour Academy students keep that number rising. The overwhelming majority of cases occur in children, and the students at Gilmour Academy have made a great impact as young change makers protecting their future fellow change makers from this deadly disease.

Mexico Earthquake Resiliency Program 2020

Worldwide cases of measles have decreased significantly over the years thanks to lifesaving and cost-effective vaccinations. If you’re interested in celebrating International Youth Day 2020 by donating to the Measles and Rubella Initiative to provide vaccinations to children around the world, click here for more information.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

This is what a socially distant response looks like

By Eric Alves, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio

August 10, 2020- This summer has been unlike any other. We have canceled vacation plans, avoided the pools due to safety concerns and we are even wearing masks and keeping our distance when visiting family and friends. However, one thing that has not changed, despite the coronavirus, is that emergencies still occur and the American Red Cross will be there to assist residents in need.

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Resident Kim Lane speaks with Red Cross Disaster Action Team member Jan Cooper

On Sunday, August 9, the Red Cross of Northern Ohio responded to a condo fire in Westlake that affected 15 residents. While the response was similar to past responses, it was also quite different.

The residents affected by the fire received immediate financial assistance, a cornerstone of Red Cross disaster response.  Those displaced by the Courtyard Condominium fire received a total of nearly $2,800 for a hotel room, food, and other immediate needs.

There were no hugs or handshakes, but the comfort the Red Cross is known for was there. Following CDC and Red Cross guidelines, Northern Ohio Disaster Action Team members wore masks, washed hands frequently, and kept their distance as much as possible.

Resident Kim Lane, upon receiving financial assistance to help her find a safe place to stay, said “It’s all very helpful. This will help with tonight (Sunday) and tomorrow. It takes a load off.  I’m very grateful.”

Jennifer Easton, who also received assistance with her husband Matthew said, “I wasn’t aware the Red Cross did this (aiding people affected by home fires.) I know they go to floods and hurricanes, but this is a revelation.”

Here is a video showing how the Red Cross maintained social distance during the response:

In addition to the Westlake response, over the weekend, the Red Cross of Northern Ohio assisted 24 residents and provided $5,760 in immediate financial assistance.

Since July 1, the Red Cross has assisted 307 adults, 220 children and has provided more than $111,000 in immediate financial assistance.

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The Red Cross is in need of healthy individuals who want to assist their local communities and respond to disasters like the Westlake fire. For more information and to see high-demand volunteer opportunities, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

To see more photos from the Westlake socially distant response, visit our Flickr page.

Updated hurricane forecast highlights the need for volunteers to help people who have to flee their homes

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

August 7, 2020- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an “extremely active” hurricane season with the potential to be one of the busiest on record, according to the agency’s annual August update.

Hurricane Hanna 2020

July 28, 2020. Edcouch, Texas Carol Holm of the American Red Cross surveys flooding caused by Hurricane Hanna, in Edcouch, TX on Tuesday July 28, 2020. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

In order to prepare, the Northern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross is seeking volunteers able to train as shelter service or disaster health supervisors and associates. They must also be willing to deploy.

Already, 12 Northern Ohio volunteers responded to Hurricane Isaias, most of whom are physically deployed.

According to this press release, the NOAA now expects 19-25 named storms for the season, which ends November 30. 7-11 are anticipated to become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.

This year’s storms are also expected to be stronger and longer-lived than average. While the outlook does not forecast landfall, we must be ready.

Whether you are a current Red Cross volunteer or interested in becoming one, please consider applying for the following positions. If you have any family members or friends who may be interested, please speak to them as well.

Shelter Services

As always, the Red Cross is committed to providing safe shelter following a disaster and is taking steps to keep shelter residents, volunteers, and staff safe during the pandemic, including using non-traditional shelters where possible. No matter the type of shelter used, volunteers are needed to help staff reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection, and other vital tasks to help those impacted by a disaster. Associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.

Disaster Health Services

The Red Cross needs licensed medical professionals for a number of volunteer roles. These include:

  • Helping assess people’s health and providing hands-on care in alignment with professional licensure (RN and LPN/LVN).
  • Assisting with daily living activities, personal assistance services, providing health education, and helping to replace medications, durable medical equipment, or consumable medical supplies.
  • And possibly performing daily observation and health screening for COVID-19-like illness among shelter residents.

Both supervisory and associate positions are available. If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO, or PA with an active, current, and unencumbered license, please consider volunteering. Ancillary roles are available locally for Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses, and medical students. RNs supervise all clinical tasks.

Hurricane Hanna 2020

July 28, 2020. Edcouch, Texas Juanita Casanova of the American Red Cross surveys flooding caused by Hurricane Hanna, on the outskirts of Edcouch, TX on Tuesday July 28, 2020. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

If you are able to help or would like more information, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday. The Red Cross covers travel and training expenses.

Help us keep a robust blood supply as the pandemic continues

Spike in COVID-19 cases has led to emergency plasma shortage

$5 Amazon.com Gift Cards offered to thank all blood donors who come to give

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

August 5, 2020- Right now, the American Red Cross has an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially lifesaving treatment for patients with COVID-19. The Red Cross has seen demand for convalescent plasma more than double over the last month as the number of coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in.

Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign up to give convalescent plasma now by completing the donor eligibility form at RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19. With each donation, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help up to three patients recover from the virus.

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED TO KEEP SUPPLY STRONG AMID PANDEMIC 

Though this summer may feel different than summers past, one thing remains constant: The need for blood donations to help save lives. The Red Cross is urging healthy individuals to give blood to restock the shelves for patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have stepped up to help by giving blood or platelets with the Red Cross. Blood donations from healthy individuals are just as essential now to meet patient needs, and those who gave this spring may be eligible to help again.

Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma, including convalescent plasma, from now until Sept. 3 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon.* Plus, come to give by Aug. 31 and automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm, redeemable through the 2021 season!^

BLOOD DONATION SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and Plasma Donation 2020

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

UPCOMING BLOOD DONATION OPPORTUNITIES:

American Red Cross Blood Donation Centers

Warzel Blood Donation Center

3747 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Parma Blood Donation Center

5585 Pearl Rd., Parma

Monday – Thursday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Summit Blood Donation Center

501 W. Market St., Akron

Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesdays: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Ashtabula County:

Andover

8/11/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Andover Christian Church, 200 Stillman Ave

Conneaut

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., New Leaf United Methodist Church, 110 Gateway Avenue

Geneva

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Northwest Ambulance District, 1480 S Broadway

Rock Creek

8/10/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Eagleville Bible Church, 1981 State Route 45

_______________

Cuyahoga County:

Beachwood

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Administrative Campus, 25875 Science Park Drive, Building 1

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, 3999 Richmond Road

Berea

8/13/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., St Adalbert Church, 66 Adalbert St.

Brecksville

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Christ the Redeemer Lutheran, 9201 Brecksville Rd

Brooklyn

8/13/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Health-Mor, 1 American Road, Suite 1250

Chagrin Falls

8/6/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., St. Martin’s Episcopal, 6295 Chagrin River Rd.

8/9/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Valley Lutheran Church, 87 E. Orange St.

Cleveland

8/7/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Fairview Hospital, 18101 Lorain Ave.

8/12/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 Metrohealth Drive

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 10300 Carnegie Ave.

8/13/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lutheran Hospital, 1730 West 25th Street

8/13/2020: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., St Columbkille Church, 6740 Broadview Rd.

8/14/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Miller Tower, 9500 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland Heights

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road

Lakewood

8/9/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lakewood YMCA, 16915 Detroit Ave

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., St Edward High School, 13500 Detroit Rd.

8/15/2020: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Lakewood Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1382 Arthur Avenue

Lyndhurst

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lyndhurst Community Center, 1341 Parkview Drive

Mayfield Heights

8/10/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Mayfield Hts DeJohn Community Center, 6306 Marsol Dr.

8/14/2020: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Hillcrest Hospital, 6780 Mayfield Road

Olmsted Falls

8/10/2020: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Mary of the Falls Church, 25615 Bagley Rd

Rocky River

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Rocky River Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Rd.

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Rocky River Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Rd.

Seven Hills

8/7/2020: 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Seven Hills Cmnty Rec Center, 7777 Summitview Drive

Solon

8/10/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Solon Community, 35000 Portz Parkway

Strongsville

8/11/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Strongsville Family Health & Surgery Center, 16761 Southpark Center

Walton Hills

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Walton Hills Village Hall, 7595 Walton Road

Warrensville Heights

8/9/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cleveland Marriott East, 26300 Harvard Rd.

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., South Pointe Hospital, 20000 Harvard Road

Westlake

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd.

_______________

Erie County

Sandusky

8/7/2020: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Firelands Regional Medical Center, 1912 Hayes Ave Sandusky

8/11/2020: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Legion, 3615 Hayes Ave

_______________

Geauga County

Chagrin Falls

8/13/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bainbridge Town Hall, 17826 Chillicothe Rd

Chardon

8/6/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Chardon United Methodist Church, 515 North St.

_______________

Huron County

Bellevue

8/7/2020: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Bellevue VFW Post 1238, 6104 US-20E

Collins

8/15/2020: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., United Methodist Church, 4290 Hartland Center Rd

New London

8/13/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Eagles, 29 West Fir Street

Norwalk

8/12/2020: 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Eagles, 151 Cline St.

_______________

Lake County

Madison

8/12/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Cornerstone Friends Church, 2300 Hubbard Rd.

Mentor

8/8/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Advent Lutheran Church, 7985 Munson Rd.

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Great Lakes Mall, 7850 Mentor Ave.

8/13/2020: 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mentor Civic Arena, 8600 Munson Rd.

8/14/2020: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Bede the Venerable, 9114 Lakeshore Blvd.

Painesville

8/14/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Concord Community Center, 7671 Auburn Rd.

Willoughby

8/12/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lost Nation Sports Park, 38630 Jet Center Drive

_______________

Lorain

Avon

8/11/2020: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Richard E. Jacobs Health Campus, 33100 Cleveland Clinic Blvd.

8/13/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mitchell’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, 1750 Moore Road

Elyria

8/12/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Elyria Family Health Center, 303 Chestnut Commons, Family Health & Surgery Center

Lorain

8/6/2020: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lorain Lighthouse United Methodist Church, 3015 Meister Road

Sheffield Village

8/11/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Ohio Business College, 5095 Waterford Dr

* Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.

^ Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/CedarFair.