Please remember the Red Cross this holiday season to help those in need

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

November 29, 2019- Earlier this month, another volunteer and I sat with a woman outside her family’s home, which had been severely damaged by fire a few hours earlier. Toward the end of our discussion, we handed her an assistance packet. She looked at it for a moment, nodded and thanked us through tears. While the aid we provided consisted of objects and financial assistance, there was also something greater: the beginning of recovery, of moving forward.

In Northeast Ohio, moments like these happen three times a day, on average. They are among the many critical services provided by the American Red Cross — and are made possible through generous donations from people like you.

Eilene Guy photo (2)

The holiday giving season is now in full swing, and many of us seek ways to express gratitude to loved ones. For Black Friday, Giving Tuesday and throughout the season, please consider helping others as well, whether they are recovering from a disaster, serving their country, learning lifesaving skills, in need of smoke alarms, in need of blood or facing medical issues. These are among the community members the Red Cross assists every day.

Whatever you can give is very impactful. For instance, $2.50 covers the cost of a comfort kit with hygiene supplies, while $5 provides someone with a blanket, and $15 covers the cost of fire safety training and installation of a smoke alarm.

California Wildfires 2019

Similarly, a $50 donation can provide hot meals for five people, a day’s worth of supplies to a person in an emergency shelter, or it can help connect veterans and their families to critical community services such as food, housing, mental health support and rehabilitation. A $100 gift can provide lifesaving vaccinations for 100 children facing an increased risk of measles and rubella around the world, or it can supply a crib for an infant in a shelter. A donation of $145 can provide hospital kits for 20 service members. Training and installation of a smoke alarm for a deaf or hearing-impaired person is possible through a $150 donation, while $200 can cover the cost to deploy an Emergency Response Vehicle or provide a full day of food and shelter for a family of four.

These are just a few of the examples of what a Red Cross financial donation can provide. If you are able to help, please visit


Blood donor

There are other ways to contribute as well. Donating blood is especially important during the holiday season as busy schedules and winter weather make collection more difficult. For more information or to schedule a donation, visit Volunteers are also needed in a number of areas. If you can help, visit for more information or to apply.

As a volunteer, I have been honored to see the positive impact and effectiveness of Red Cross services and am grateful for the contributions that make it possible. If you are able to provide financial assistance, volunteer or give blood, please consider helping the Red Cross this Giving Tuesday and throughout the season.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Ways to Brighten Black Friday

By: Sue Wilson, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Black Friday. The kick off to what is suppose to be the most joyous time of the year. Yet, a trip to any mall parking lot or big box retailer shows anything but joy. Black Friday can be a dark day, exemplifying the worst of consumerism in the holidays, and by the end of it we often hear some dreadful news story about customers rushing into stores, battling over a limited number of “door buster” specials. Sales consultant, Steven A McQueen, tweeted: “Black Friday is the day we trample people for things we don’t need, the day after being thankful for what we have.”

We have been convinced, through a bombardment of advertising messages, that the holiday season is all about MORE. Spending more money on more presents to fill our spaces with more stuff that we’ll be paying off for a long time.

If stepping back from the consumerism of gift giving sounds good to you, here are four suggestions to bring some meaning back to the holidays:

  1. Give the gift of time. Volunteer with an organization you believe in. Every single day, the Red Cross helps people in emergencies. Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran or support to a military family member, our vital work is made possible by people like you. It is through the time and care of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things. Click here for information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.
  2. Give something that means something. Honor a friend or family member with a gift that helps those in need. When you donate to the Red Cross you are helping people who face emergencies every day rebuild their lives. Donations can help provide safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health services to people in need. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to the community, or call 1-800-RED CROSS to support Red Cross services.
  3. Give something practical. If you still enjoy giving traditional gifts, you can shop online at the Red Cross Store and give a practical gift; the gift of preparedness for emergencies, with first aid kits, a hand-crank radio that can charge your cell phone, water bottles and more.
  4. Donate Blood. The holidays are a hectic time with upcoming travel, family gatherings and festive events. But hospital patients don’t get a holidays from needing lifesaving blood donations. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets visit

Brighten up Black Friday. Give …rather than buy.