American Red Cross: Look for the Helpers

Earlier this month I visited the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC, just a quick Metro ride away from my home in the suburbs.

My visit was part of an online influencer event, and to be completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Somewhere in my childhood bedroom is the CPR certification card I received from the Red Cross in high school, and I remember volunteering at a blood drive once with my hometown’s volunteer fire department. Red Cross volunteers showed up quickly when my next-door neighbor’s house burned down, and I think that we’re all familiar with the organization’s response to disasters.

It turns out that the Red Cross is so much more than the occasional blood drive and a CPR certification card. I’d like to introduce you to the real Red Cross.

I walked away from my two-day experience completely in awe of the organization, its mission, and the people who live that mission out each and every day, around the clock.  

As my regular readers know, I’ve been in a time of transition here in my online world for some time, and I have to be completely honest – I’ve moved slowly and cautiously towards my vision for how to use this space because in many ways, it does not always feel safe to share and hope and try to help others. I think that most of us feel how divided our nation is right now, and all of us who have spent any amount of time on social media have felt the vitriol that seems to seep into every corner of life.

During my time with the Red Cross, I was reminded why it is so important to continue to try to help others, to do good where and when we can, to stay true to the mission even in the most difficult circumstances.

I was reminded of this famous quote from Fred Rogers:

The people of the American Red Cross are the helpers.

They are a talented and committed group –90% of them volunteers – who live by this Red Cross Mission:

Now that I’ve seen firsthand all that the Red Cross does to ease suffering, it’s important to me to help dispel the myths that threaten to get in the way of the Red Cross mission, and I hope to introduce you to all that the Red Cross is and does. And my greatest hope is that by the end of my sharing, you feel – as I do – the importance of joining the American Red Cross in helping to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the United States and around the world.

“This is not just about material logistics. We’re helping people in their darkest hour.”

Did You Know?

  • An average of 90 cents of every dollar donated to the American Red Cross is invested in delivering care and comfort to those in need. It was incredibly clear to me that this is an organization committed to transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. Learn more at RedCross.org.
  • 90% of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers. You can learn more about how to join the Red Cross volunteer team online.
  • Digital misinformation spreads like wildfire and can make it tougher for the Red Cross to carry out its mission. The American Red Cross works with digital volunteers – social media savvy people like you! – to help the truth spread just as quickly.
  • The American Red Cross is part of a global humanitarian group, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
  • Each year the Red Cross collects nearly 4.9 million units of blood from 2.8 million volunteer donors. The American Red Cross is the largest supplier of lifesaving blood in the United States, providing hospitals with 40% of the nation’s blood products. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. 
  • In times of disaster, the Red Cross works to get people what they need, where they need it, when they need it in order to alleviate suffering.
  • Through partnerships with other organizations, the Red Cross is able to reach more people and do more good. For example, they work with the Humane Society to help take care of pets at shelters as part of their disaster relief efforts.

The reason it’s easy for us to remember the mission is because it’s actually what we do.”

  • The American Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters a year, most of them single family fires.
  • In order to prevent home fire deaths, the Red Cross Sound the Alarm home fire campaign goes door to door in communities, installing smoke detectors and talking to families about fire safety. To date, this program has saved a confirmed 627 lives!

“Volunteers focus on hope and hugs because that’s what alleviates suffering.”

And so much more…

“There’s no small job at the Red Cross.”

I walked away from this event with ten typed pages of notes. Ten. I can’t stop talking to my family about the Red Cross, both here in the United States and globally. This post is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to sharing how you can volunteer with the Red Cross, telling you more about the role the Red Cross plays in disaster relief including their helpful apps, introducing you to their work with military and military families, and recruiting you all to join me in helping to map the world from home while enjoying a glass of wine. No, really. This is a thing and its incredible.

Stay tuned!

This post and the posts in the series are part of a sponsored partnership with the American Red Cross. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own. 

Written by: Amy Lupold Bair

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