For more than 75 years, U.S. Presidents have declared the month of March as Red Cross Month. The annual tradition was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 and has continued since. The American Red Cross feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families.
It is clear that the American Red Cross benefits our country in numerous ways. Through the work of volunteers, communities that have faced disasters are afforded some semblance of relief in their times of need.
March is Red Cross Month
The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton in 1881. For nearly 139 years, the Red Cross has been benefiting people across the world. Barton, a pioneering nurse from Massachusetts, founded the American Red Cross out of a desire to continue providing help and supplies to people in need following the Civil War.
The Red Cross is powered by a workforce of more than 90 percent volunteers who leave their homes to work in affected areas, providing refuge, food, relief items, emotional support, recovery planning, and significant assistance to vulnerable families in their darkest hours and times of need.
In 2019, donations of more than 6.4 million blood products helped save and improve the lives of people of all ages, including accident victims, mothers giving birth, surgery patients, and those battling cancer and other life-threatening or altering conditions.
In response to 2019’s devastating hurricanes, wildfires, storms, floods, and earthquakes, the American Red Cross and several partners opened and supported emergency shelters for more than 300 days. The Red Cross is present and supporting communities during nearly 60,000 disasters a year.
The American Red Cross has also supported responses to 17 international disasters and humanitarian crises in 2019 as a key part of the world’s largest humanitarian network.
The Red Cross provides support for thousands during their time of need.
Communities Support One Another
Supporting those in need is a crucial part of the Red Cross’ mission. In nearly every profession, this is always important.
For first responders, supporting their communities is essential especially seeing as the opioid epidemic has been on the rise in communities for years. In the early years, having an opioid on the premise could be grounds for arrest. However, many local first responders have changed from the harsh reality of prison to a more caring approach in the hopes of helping those afflicted get help.
A new partnership between police and public health known in Ware, Mass. as the Drug Addiction Recovery Team (DART) has helped police officers reach out to drug addicts and, instead of arresting people, offers the overdose-rescue drug Narcan and talks about how to stay alive. An officer may even continue with follow ups to see how the person is doing. In some cases, an officer could offer additional help such as a warm bed for the night, a referral to a recovery coach or needle-exchange program, or a ride to detox.
This new way of handling the opioid epidemic is just another way that first responders are helping their communities.
Give Back to your Community
The American Red Cross wants to promote heroes. Doing so could include donating blood, making a donation, taking a class, or volunteering. Amidst the coronavirus outbreak there is a nationwide shortage of blood, according to the Red Cross website. If you're able to, schedule an appointment to donate here.
Looking out for those in the community is essential to building good relations. Through their mostly volunteer base, the American Red Cross is able to provide relief for thousands across the country during times of need.
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