Monday, March 3, 2014

The Red Cross

March is Red Cross month. What do you know about the Red Cross?

This is truly a story of one person making a difference.

Clara Barton originally saw men who had suffered greatly as they returned from the Civil War while she was working in Washington, D.C.: many soldiers arriving in the city after serving had great needs: wound care, food, clothing, shelter, help in recuperating, and reuniting with their families. Her compassionate nature urged her to help them in the city, and she then traveled out to army outposts and battlegrounds to give any kind of aid she could. With the help of other volunteers, eventually she developed these services into the Red Cross, which was officially founded in 1881, when Clara was 60 years old. Clara Barton was the head of the American Red Cross for 23 years, until she was 83 years old. Read the story of this remarkable woman at:

Whenever there is a disaster, whether it is on a large or small scale, the Red Cross can be dispatched to help. It may be a house fire, a wildfire, or it may be a tornado ripping through a large area. It may be a hurricane, a flood, or any other situation where help is needed.  Red Cross workers quickly show up when there are other situations that call for caring, such as the shootings at Sandy Hook School and the ruin created on 9/11 in New York City, and the organization has a plan for chemical disaster situations. The Red Cross brings food, clean water, and blankets, takes part in rescue operations, helps with disaster cleanup, and helps provide shelter for people who have lost their homes. They offer compassionate caring to those who have lost hope.

Here's a video showing some recent situations where the Red Cross came to help:

The Red Cross responded quickly to help victims of the 9/11 bombings

Red Cross volunteers are a great help with communications: typically, they are a good contact point to relay messages from those in a disaster area to their loved ones. They may provide phones or phone banks or take down names and try to locate people considered missing when a disaster strikes. This was part of the role Clara Barton played when she began the Red Cross. During the Civil War, she and her volunteers identified 22,000 missing people--without any modern technology.

The Red Cross is a global project: Kenya, Cyprus, China, Canada, Cambodia, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Switzerland, are a small number of countries who have Red Cross chapters. When natural disaster strikes, the Red Cross will be there.

People who live in countries where they do not feel safe and need to leave, will typically find the Red Cross providing services for them in refugee camps and possibly helping them to relocate.

These workers have always been of service to military veterans and their families.

                   The Red Cross helped prisoners of war communicate during WWII.

                        A Red Cross coffee truck in Korea, serving coffee to soldiers
Here is a page with personal stories about how the Red Cross has affected peoples' lives-including an excellent short video:

The Red Cross is a large provider of blood and blood products: More than 40% of the country's blood supply comes from the Red Cross. This is one way almost everyone can donate to the Red Cross.

                  A great deal of organizing is needed to get the Red Cross where it's needed.

Part of what the Red Cross offers is training, whether it's teaching individuals life-saving skills or to prepare communities to be ready for an expected problem.

The Red Cross offers courses in, among other things:

  • CPR certification
  • Lifeguard and swimming/water safety certification
  • Babysitting certification
  • First Aid certification
  • You can also be Red Cross-certified in pet first aid
                                                        Lifeguards in training
  • The Red Cross has an initiative to vaccinate people for measles. Worldwide, they have seen to it that over 1 billion, or 78% of all people, have been vaccinated.

You may be able to become a Certified Nursing Assistant with training from the Red Cross:

If you are a student nurse, the Red Cross welcomes your volunteer time, and may be able to offer you employment once you have graduated:

Here is the Twin Cities chapter of the Red Cross: 

Imagine: One person's compassion for others has grown into the Red Cross of today. Still think you can't make a difference?

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