Good Food, Good Drink, Good Cause

Fundraisers like this don’t come around very often.

Enjoy acclaimed Bodegas Salentein wines and an exceptional menu of appetizers crafted by Texas de Brazil this Wednesday, April 26.  Tickets cost just $35, and $30 from each ticket will benefit American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces.

Tickets are available here.  

Thank You, Volunteers!

During National Volunteer Week (April 23-29) we will feature the Red Cross stories of some of our 1,750 cherished Regional volunteers who help fulfill the Red Cross mission: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. The generous donation of time, skill, and caring of ALL of our volunteers make us truly grateful.

Beginning Monday, you will read about a different volunteer each day.  We hope their stories inspire others to devote their time and expertise to help others in need.

Regional CEO Mike Parks offers his own words of appreciation to the volunteers of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region:

Dear Valued Volunteer,

As this year’s National Volunteer Week (April 23-29) begins, again I offer a sincere “thank you” for the tremendous support that you are to the American Red Cross and for all that you accomplish for our organization each and every day.  I continue to be invigorated everyday by the passion and energy that you bring to everything you do and to everyone that you work with at the Red Cross.  I am amazed by the incredible skill, knowledge and dedication that you, our volunteers, share with us as our trusted and valued colleagues.  As volunteers, you not only support and enhance the work we do, but also guide it.   We count on you and you are always there.  Again, thank you for all that you do as we carry out our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.  Happy Volunteer Week!

With grateful appreciation,

Mike Parks

RADM, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

Chief Executive Officer

Northeast Ohio Region

American Red Cross

 

Hometown Heroes Donate Blood

 

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Aloft Cleveland Downtown, the high-rise hotel ascending from the East Bank of the Flats was the venue on Tuesday, April 18 for the Hometown Hero Blood Drive (formerly known as the Bloodsucker’s Ball,) the annual event sponsored by our partners at 98.5 WNCX.

 

Ronald Pitts of Cleveland said he donates as regularly as he can (donors can give whole blood every 56 days.)  “I’m O negative, so they really want my blood.”

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Red Cross blood donor Ronald Pitts of Cleveland

Type O negative blood is known as the universal blood type, because it can be transfused to patients of all blood types.  It is always in great demand and often in short supply.

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Karen Hausler believes that by donating blood regularly, she is not only helping others in need, but also herself.

“I think it rejuvenates the body,” she said.  “I’m 70, and I think it has helped me!”IMG_3760

 

Dave Popovich, Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio in Cleveland, made his annual donation of red blood cells for the Red Cross.

In all, donors contributed 276 pints of blood during the Hometown Hero event.

You can become a “Hometown Hero” by donating blood to the Red Cross.  Download  the Red Cross Blood App to schedule your appointment, or text BLOODAPP to 90999 from you smart phone, or visit redcrossblood.org.  You can also make an appointment by calling 1-800 RED CROSS.

 

 

 

 

 

Shelter Closes, But Casework Continues

Red Cross Workers Continue to Assist Dozens of Residents Forced to Flee from Fire

A shelter operated by the Red Cross for residents of the Studio City Apartments in Cuyahoga Falls closed today, after Red Cross caseworkers were able to ensure that all residents in need of shelter had suitable alternative housing.

Since Friday, April 14th, the Red Cross has been providing safe shelter, warm meals and comfort care daily for up to six residents who otherwise would have had no other housing alternatives.

“We are extremely grateful to the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools and the Riverfront YMCA for providing the space for us to operate a shelter for these residents,” said Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer in Northeast Ohio.  “And we are especially grateful to the dedicated volunteers, many of whom gave up family time over the Easter holiday weekend, to provide the services that were needed following last week’s fire.”

Shelter Residents from Cuyahoga Falls play basketball with Red Cross Volunteers on Easter Sunday.  Photo credit: Zackery McAvoy/American Red Cross

Although the shelter has closed, Red Cross assistance will continue for the foreseeable future, as nearly 80 people who were forced to flee their homes on Thursday, April 13 are getting help from caseworkers, who are meeting with residents one-on-one to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies.  Most of the work is being done by volunteers, who have received specialized training to help people following a disaster.

The Red Cross has a need for additional volunteers to help when the next disaster occurs.  Volunteer opportunities include not only casework and shelter help, but also response immediately following disasters, when people often experience their darkest hours.  Those interested in becoming trained Red Cross volunteers can visit redcross.org/neo, or call 216-431-3328 to begin the application process.

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 Red Cross shelter workers created this display to express their appreciation for the use of  Gordon Dewitt Elementary School in Cuyahoga Falls as a shelter over Easter weekend.

Disaster Workers Busy Helping Fire Victims Over Easter Weekend

Volunteers are at the heart of the Red Cross.

That has never been more apparent in Northeast Ohio as it has been in the last week. Since Friday, April 7, there have been 4 apartment building fires, in Boardman, Warrensville Heights, Parma and Cuyahoga Falls.  More than 180 residents have been chased from their homes during that time, including more than 60 children.

Red Cross disaster workers, the bulk of them volunteers, have responded to each of these emergencies, providing initial financial assistance, comfort and hope to people who, in some cases, have lost everything.

Red Cross Disaster workers open a reception center in the Warrensville Heights Civic Center in response to an apartment building fire on Monday, April 10, 2017.

As Chief Operating Officer Jorge Martinez notes,  “This is very impressive.  I’m always awed by volunteers.  Doing some quick math, they amassed nearly 59,000 volunteer hours (and we know there’s more that’s gone unrecorded).  That’s an average of 27 employees putting in an 8 hour workday 7 days a week over the past 9 months.  Given our current staffing, they more than doubled our capacity.”

Between Friday, April 7 and Friday April 14, Red Cross disaster workers offered initial financial assistance totaling more than $35,000 to the affected residents.  And they opened a shelter in Cuyahoga Falls, for residents affected by Thursday night’s fire.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Ongoing assistance includes helping match residents with the agencies and resources that will help them plan their next moves.  And those in need have been offered mental health assistance, as well as help with medical needs, such as filling prescriptions.

On Easter Sunday, volunteers Teresa Greenlief, Jamie Waid and Bob Rupp played basketball with Bob Loch and Mike Surrel, two of the Cuyahoga Falls residents staying in a Red Cross shelter.

Photo Credit: Zackery McAvoy/American Red Cross

A final word from COO Jorge Martinez: “We’re truly lucky to have these volunteers in my opinion.  Great work.”

Visit redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab to learn more about opportunities to help those in need.

Cedar Fair Executive Recognized by Gail McGovern

The president of the American National Red Cross, Gail McGovern, has recognized Sanduskian Lee Alexakos for her outstanding contributions to the organization’s vital blood collection program.

National Awards and Recognition Dinner 2017

Lee Alexakos, center, is flanked on the left by Gail McGovern, President and Howie Walz, Vice President of Recruitment

A Biomedical Partnership Award — presented recently at the Red Cross National Award Program in Washington, D.C. — cited Alexakos for expanding the partnership between the Red Cross and Cedar Fair Entertainment, where she serves as Vice President of Community Relations.

Cedar Fair—a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment—is a great corporate partner with Lee Alexakos at the helm. Her extensive work on the expansion of Cedar Fair’s partnership with the American Red Cross helped to increase revenue, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction for our organization. Her successful expansion campaign included gifting the Red Cross over 16 thousand free Cedar Fair admissions to be used to recruit blood donors during the difficult summer collection months; encouraging blood donations by offering prize packs of admission for four; and gifting and promoting a Grand Prize package including family admission, fast passes, and weekend overnight accommodations. The in-kind donations from this campaign were equal to over $1 million from Cedar Fair.

The success of the Cedar Fair partnership enabled laser marketing to our youth markets during a time of the year when it can be challenging to connect with our high school and university partners. Students stepped up to coordinate blood drives in their communities resulting in youth leadership opportunities plus education on the blood donation process and the patients we serve. Lee’s dedication to our organization and endless hours invested of her own time to ensure sponsor and donor engagement were crucial for our life saving mission during the challenging summer months.

The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations.  You can make an appointment to donate at 1-800-RED CROSS, or by logging onto redcrossblood.org.  You can also make an appointment on the Red Cross Blood App, which also records your donation history, and keeps track of your blood’s journey.

(Red Cross Volunteer Eilene Guy contributed to this story)

Red Cross Funding – 1900’s style

Looking back 100 years at the Stark County and Muskingum Lakes Chapter

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

(Editor’s Note:  This is the latest in a series of centennial-related stories involving the founding of Red Cross chapters in Northeast Ohio.Centennial-Red-Cross-question)

July 5, 1917, the Red Cross was still not totally understood by many Americans.  Unusual in its charter, the Red Cross could have been considered both private and official.

As the Daily Times of New Philadelphia wrote on this date, “The government has adopted it officially as the auxiliary war relief service. The president of the United States by law is also the president of the Red Cross. Yet, the government does not finance the Red Cross.”

“On occasions, congress has voted contributions of money to it…but, the great volume of its funds spent for relief work is contributed by private individuals. Less than 30% of its receipts come from membership dues.”

They went on later to say that while many people were amazed that the Army did not increase their medical team to handle the increase in enlistees during WW1, that actually the Red Cross was found to be more efficient and cost effective.

At the time, all Red Cross volunteers were asked to join as dues paying members. $1 per year was expected unless the person was well-heeled financially, in which case they might pay $10 or $100 per year.

A local country club held a fund raiser for the Red Cross. Forty golfers played for club trophies and paid a penny a stroke, raising $50 for the Red Cross.

While not everyone could afford to donate, everyone could do something.  The newspaper reported that the Dover Bridge Club spent July 3, 1917 doing their part. Before having dinner, the members spent the afternoon sewing for the Red Cross.

Tuscarawas County was asked to contribute $30,000 toward the Red Cross War Fund in 1917. To get the word out, many papers provided free advertising to help with the cause. The example below appeared in The Daily Times in New Philadelphia.

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Readers might have been shocked to see that while the nation was supposed to be conserving and donating during war time, the city of Akron alone spent $2.7-million on liquor in saloons in the previous year.  Hmmm.

Today, you can do your part.  Donations couldn’t be easier. Donate by text, by email, by mail or online. You can even set up a monthly automatic donation.  All five links to giving are here.