February 28, 2019—March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross asks everyone to be a hero in their community by becoming a volunteer, learning lifesaving skills, giving blood or donating to #help1family on Red Cross Giving Day, March 27.
The need to help people is constant—and the past year of busy disaster activity was no exception. For 324 consecutive days, more than 43,000 people relied on the Red Cross for emergency shelter following events like record wildfires, hurricanes, floods and large apartment fires. From April 2018 to February 2019, more than 11,500 Red Cross volunteers left the comfort of their own homes to provide comfort, care and a safe place to sleep for tens of thousands affected by disasters.
During that period of devastating disaster, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio had 150 disaster volunteers deployed across the country, assisting residents in need and helping spread the Red Cross story, including Doug Bardwell, who was deployed for the first time and was sent to the Camp Fire disaster in California as a public affairs volunteer.
“During Red Cross Month, we honor the volunteer heroes who help families overcome life’s emergencies every day,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “These champions are our neighbors—ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference to ease the suffering of others, whether it’s saving a person’s life with CPR, donating blood for a hospital patient with life-threatening conditions, or comforting a family overwhelmed by a home fire or other crisis. We ask you to consider joining these heroes to answer the call for service in your community.”
WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH More than 75 years ago, March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission. All U.S. presidents since Roosevelt have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world through its workforce powered by more than 90 percent volunteers.
EVERY EIGHT MINUTES, SOMEONE NEEDS HELP The Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters a year, most of which are home fires. In January alone, Red Cross volunteers helped about 24,000 people affected by more than 5,700 home fires across every state.
Disasters can cause other critical needs too. This winter, thousands of blood donations have gone uncollected due to snow storms and extreme cold—underscoring the constant need for eligible individuals to donate blood.
‘VOLUNTEERING WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE’ Joe Apicelli is among the nearly 372,000 individuals who volunteer with the American Red Cross. Following a massive hurricane more than a decade ago, he was inspired to respond with his local chapter upon seeing heartbreaking images of the storm’s aftermath. Ever since, Apicelli has helped people affected by disasters, including last year’s record wildfires in California and Hurricanes Florence and Michael.
“Volunteering will change your life. It will give you an opportunity to work with people from all over the country and change up your lifestyle,” Apicelli said. “If you want to reach out and help others, volunteer and see the difference it can make in your life. I am honored every time I get to work with my fellow Red Crossers. These are people who have given up their vacation and free time to help others.”
HOW YOU CAN #HELP1FAMILY Learn more about how you can help in your area by contacting your local Red Cross chapter or visiting redcross.org/neo:
- Become a volunteer: Help families affected by disasters and install lifesaving smoke alarms to keep neighbors safe from home fires. In some areas, you can also provide emergency assistance for military members and veterans, or help reconnect families separated by international conflict.
- Give blood: Make an appointment to donate lifesaving blood or platelets.
- Learn lifesaving skills: Register for a class to learn first aid, CPR and other skills.
- Make a financial donation: On March 27—American Red Cross Giving Day—donate at redcross.org/givingday, uniting with thousands of people like you to help families during the first devastating hours of a disaster. Your gift can provide hope and urgent relief like food, shelter and other essentials for families who need it most.
Below is a video explaining the Red Cross’ history and how your support this March impacts your local community here in Northeast Ohio.