Red Cross Month – Heroes in Our Communities Here on the Suncoast
Did you know that the tradition of commemorating Red Cross Month in March started back with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943? During the Month, 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. Agency volunteers and employees help in many disasters, from hurricanes to forest fires and other catastrophes. These heroes working in our communities during the worst times deserve recognition and everyone to get more involved in this vital and challenging endeavor.
“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.”
Did you know that before Hurricane Ian’s arrival, the American Red Cross mobilized 83 truckloads of shelter supplies (cots, blankets, and comfort kits) and tens of thousands of relief supplies to areas across the Sunshine State? Rows and rows of semi-trailers lined an Orlando parking lot two days post-landfall, where dozens of logistics volunteers were set to inventory, unload, organize, and distribute supplies to shelters, communities, and neighbors that desperately needed them.
While you might not have been able to help in a disaster, there is another amazing way that every one of us can help the organization. Giving blood is a vital initiative where the American Red Cross also takes the lead in the nation. The organization has responded to three million disasters since 1881 and supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood. It is vital to always have a ready supply of blood to respond to gun violence, natural disaster, and other catastrophes. Finding a local chapter or blood drive event is a relatively easy way you can support this vital initiative, even before a crisis erupts.
In President Biden’s 2023 Red Cross Month Proclamation, he said: During American Red Cross Month, I encourage Americans to learn more about the steps involved in donating blood by visiting redcross.org. If you can give blood, I hope you will. I also encourage Americans to learn or teach first aid and to participate in Sound the Alarm events to prevent home fires. It is in our Nation’s DNA to lift each other up, especially on the frontlines of emergencies and disasters. I know that Americans will always answer the call — doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help out those in need.
If you know a Red Cross volunteer in our community, thank them. If you can volunteer yourself, find a local chapter and do so. If a blood bus or event happens nearby, please consider giving, and if all else fails, make a donation toward a worthy cause. Everyone can help continue to further the cause of the Red Cross to be there when disaster strikes to support, rebuild, and buoy communities from one coast of this country to the other.
Happy Red Cross Month, Suncoast!
Feature Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos