Think S-A-F-E-T-Y as you trim your tree this year

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Northeast Ohio. While the dusting of snow is lovely, and while we are all busy getting ready for the holidays, we need to be aware of the potential for home fires during this season.

decorations-home-fire-engThe National Fire Protection Association warns us that Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the three days most likely to experience fires started by candles.

Consider that Northeast Ohio experienced 14 fires just over Thanksgiving weekend alone.

The American Red Cross wants people to stay safe from home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—by testing their smoke alarms and practicing their home fire escape plan with free resources at redcross.org/homefires. In addition, you can follow these 10 simple safety tips as you put up lights and ornaments:

  1. Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together—no more than three per extension cord.
  2. If you are buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
  3. If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it frequently to keep it fresh. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
  4. If using older decorations, check their labels. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
  5. When decorating outside, make sure decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
  6. If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
  7. Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees.
  8. Don’t forget to turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
  9. Keep children, pets and decorations away from candles.
  10. If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace.45180555475_4b8c6fc3dd_z

Every eight minutes, donations to the Red Cross help someone affected by a disaster—most often, home fires. You can help save lives by making a financial donation to support our mission, signing up to become a volunteer or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Don’t stop now.  Also check out our tips for Cooking Safety and Travel Safety.

Also, as you continue to prepare to decorate your house, here is a video on holiday decorating safety tips you can watch with your family to ensure everyone can enjoy the holidays safely:

Red Cross responses to several disasters over weekend, including Elyria gas shutdown

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

Over the weekend, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responded to several disasters across the region.

47226259_10161035265440425_6709877211534458880_nThe Red Cross responded to seven incidents in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Mahoning, Stark and Trumbull Countries, assisting eight adults and 13 children and distributing more than $4,255 in immediate financial assistance to help the needs of residents in Northeast Ohio during their darkest hours.

One response that highlights the Red Cross’ commitment to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies occurred in Elyria.

Following a gas shutoff by Columbia Gas, the Red Cross immediately sprang into action to open a shelter in the city. Seven dedicated disaster services volunteers opened and 47208541_10161036668125425_251000959679856640_noperated the shelter for 24-hours a day over a three-day period, providing the residents of Elyria an opportunity to escape the cold, to enjoy snacks and beverages and to receive assistance and care.

This shelter not only showcases the Red Cross’ commitment to the city of Elyria and its residents, but that whenever there is a disaster or need in Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross will continue to answer the call to provide support and care wherever it is needed.

The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross is prepared 24 hours per day and seven days a week to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. However, we are unable to 47026729_10161035265435425_1725402218091249664_nserve the 22 counties and 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio without the tremendous dedication of our volunteers, which make up 90 percent of our workforce. Our volunteers are truly the face of the Red Cross. If you are interested in making an impact in local communities, the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. To volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

NEO Red Cross collecting supplies to support military service members and veterans in need this holiday season

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist,American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Communications volunteer.

This holiday season, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio is teaming up with the Ohio Troop and Family Assistance Center (TFAC) to provide supplies to military families and veterans in need.

During the holiday season, to give thanks to our military for everything they do for us each day, the Red Cross is collecting toiletries and paper goods. The TFAC has a “pantry”/ “care room” at the North Canton National Guard Armory but supports all 22 counties of the Red Cross’ Northeast Ohio Region. The pantry is in need of feminine products, diapers (all sizes), laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap and men’s razors. It is recommended that items be smaller in size but not trial size

The Red Cross has a long history of assisting military service members, their families and veterans. Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross, risked her life during the Civil War to bring supplies to soldiers in the fields. This service and the continued need to support and protect the sick and wounded during wartime led Clara to establish the Red Cross in 1881.This commitment to the military and those in need in times of conflict and humanitarian crises led to the Red Cross receiving a congressional charter in 1905 to fulfill provisions of the Geneva Conventions. These responsibilities are to provide family communications and other forms of support to the U.S. military and to maintain a system of domestic and international disaster relief. Despite this close relationship with the federal government, the Red Cross is an independent nonprofit that does not receive federal funding.

Today, the Red Cross continues our strong commitment to our service members, their families and veterans, which began with Clara on the battlefields. Service to the Armed Forces remains one of our five service areas. From the first day of enlistment, service members and their families are eligible for Red Cross assistance. Every day, the American Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran healthcare facilities across the country and around the world. Some of the services the Red Cross provides are helping to cope with deployment, delivering verified messages during emergencies at home, keeping in touch with military families and informing them that help is always available, helping find access to financial assistance, providing information and referral services and assisting with veterans appeals, building skills for successful reintegration and much more. 

If you are interested in donating items to military members, their families and veterans in need in Northeast Ohio, Red Cross chapter locations in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Elyria, New Philadelphia,Wooster and Youngstown are accepting donations. Donated items will be delivered to TFAC pantry. You can find the addresses to each drop-off location by visiting the locations page at redcross.org/neo.

Fundraiser provides festive kickoff to the holiday season

Proceeds to benefit local Red Cross disaster relief

WOOSTER – The Festival of Trees has become a tradition in Wooster, to help residents in Wayne, Holmes, Ashland and Richland Counties kick-off the holiday season.  For 27 years it has helped to provide critical funding for disaster services provided by the American Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

On Tuesday, November 27, Festival-goers sipped local wines from Troutman Vineyards and Blue Barn Winery, along with beer and pop provided by Bowman Beverage. They also enjoyed Certified Angus beef and appetizers prepared by Wooster Country Club, as they meandered through the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center, admiring the trees and wreaths decorated by local artisans and enthusiasts.  A list of the designer award winners is below.

For more pictures from the Festival of Trees, visit our photo album here

The Museum provided a unique backdrop for the Festival, as the trees and wreaths, along with the many silent auction items, were positioned among vintage farm equipment on display there.  More than 260 tickets were sold for this year’s event. 

“The main purpose of this event is to raise funds for the local community Red Cross,” said Festival Chair Sean Ulik.  “We cover a large area, and the funds are very important.”

The Red Cross assists 300 local families, on average every year, by providing help and hope following a home fire or other disaster.  The Red Cross distributes more than $180,000 every year in immediate financial assistance for shelter, clothing and other emergency needs.

“We’re here to save lives,” Sean said, highlighting the smoke alarms installed by Red Cross volunteers in homes throughout the community.“it’s amazing how many individuals do not have smoke alarms.  Those smoke alarms are so important in saving lives.”

For more information about the Home Fire Campaign, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.  And if you’d like to help provide the funds for the assistance needed by residents affected by disasters, visit redcross.org/neo, or call 1-800 RED CROSS to make a donation.

2018 Festival of Trees Designer Award winners:

Honorary Chair Award: Splendor in Red Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Best Agricultural Design: Weathervane Tree, donated by Consumer National Bank and Designed Mariah Crater

Most Creative: Frosty Tree, donated and designed by Diane Evans

Best Wreath: Stag N Star Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Most Christmassy: Rustic Bells Tree, designed by Christina Ennis

Best Little Tree: Winter Dreams, donated by Howard Hanna

People’s Choice: Sleigh Ride Tablepiece, donated and designed by CR Blooms Floral

Thanksgiving weekend disasters in Northeast Ohio highlight importance of Giving Tuesday

‘Give Something That Means Something’ to bring comfort and hope to people in need

In a year when disasters upended the lives of thousands of people, the American Red Cross is asking everyone to Give Something that Means Something for families in need through its 2018 Holiday Giving Campaign.

183401-22-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Spanish-Social-Graphics_Give-Comfort_1200x1200_English_REVThe need is constant—and this year was no different. Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross assisted 72 adults and children, who were affected by 14 separate incidents. The Red Cross also gave $14,000 in immediate financial assistance. Home fires—the nation’s most frequent disaster—account for the vast majority of our responses.

“Every day, home fires and other everyday crises turn people’s lives upside down,” said Mike Parks, Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Ohio. “The Red Cross responds to three home fires every 24 hours on average in Northeast Ohio. Families are counting on your support to remember them during this special time of year. On Giving Tuesday, please consider making a financial donation or a blood donation, or volunteering your time.”

GIVING TUESDAY Beginning on Giving Tuesday—November 27—please #GiveWithMeaning at redcross.org/gift to support people in need with a symbolic gift, which you can make in honor of the special people in your life:

  • Help disaster victims. Your gift of $250 can deliver hot meals for 25 people who 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Twitter-Post-Graphic-1_FINALneed nourishment after a disaster. A donation of $100 can provide a family of two with a full day’s worth of emergency shelter with meals, snacks, blankets, a cot and hygiene supplies. Help provide warmth with a gift of $50, which can provide blankets for 10 people.
  • Help our veterans. A donation of $125 can help veterans transition back to civilian life by connecting them and their families to critical services such as food, housing, counseling and rehabilitation.
  • Help internationally. Your gift of $100 can help provide lifesaving vaccinations for 100 children who face an increased risk of measles and rubella around the world.

In addition, you can also:

  • Give the gift of life. Visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.
  • Volunteer to help others. To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org.

GIVING HOPE EVERY DAY Every 8 minutes, someone affected by disaster is helped by donations to the Red Cross. The generosity of Red Cross donors helps provide people with necessities like shelter, food, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance.

 

 

A gift that can make a difference

By Sue Wilson, Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter board of director. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer. 

The holiday season is a time for family and festivities. It is also a time for shopping. Yep . . . starting today with Black Friday, we will be overwhelmed with “deals” filling our inboxes, mailboxes, TV screens and news feeds. We will see and hear ads on every media source out there rivaled only by the political ads we just made it through.

183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_2_FINALFor many of us, it’s hard to think about a joyful holiday when so many people all over our great country are suffering unimaginable loss. News of more lives lost and the devastation and grief of the victims of the California wildfires greets us daily. And much of our nation is still dealing with the aftermath of this past year’s hurricanes and other localized tragedies like home fires. If the idea of buying a bunch of stuff, most of it not really needed, is hitting you this year, there’s something you can do.

Give something that means something. Give to the American Red Cross.

Donate in the name of a loved one. Wrap the receipt in an envelope and place it in a stocking. Make this type of gift giving a topic of conversation at the dinner table. Ask yourself this question: Can you remember the gifts you received last Christmas? Can you remember the gifts you bought others? Probably not. But one thing you may be able to remember, is that you spent a lot of money.

Wouldn’t it be great if you gave a gift this year that was not only memorable . . . but made a real difference?

A few facts:

  • After a disaster, the Red Cross works with community partners to provide hot meals, snacks and water served in shelters or from Red Cross emergency response vehicles in affected neighborhoods.
  • Trained Red Cross volunteers and employees are ready to deploy within hours of a disaster to help. No one else does this—not the government, not other charities.
  • From small house fires to multistate natural disasters like the wildfires in California, the American Red Cross goes wherever needed so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most.

This year, you can give a unique and meaningful gift that can make a difference to help the people met by the Red Cross every 8 minutes who have been devastated by a disaster. 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_3_FINAL

If you want to donate financial assistance for a specific disaster this past year, you can learn more by when you visit Hurricane Florence Financial Assistance Program and Hurricane Michael Financial Assistance Program. To learn about Red Cross assistance to support long-term recovery efforts, please visit Hurricane Harvey Recovery Program, Hurricane Irma Recovery Program, or California Wildfires Recovery Program.

Know that any donation made will be used it where it is needed most.

Your gift this holiday season can bring hope to those in need. This year, give something that means something. Give a gift that can make a difference.

Visit redcross.org/gifts.

Thanks for Giving 2018

Volunteers and donors share stories and a meal at second annual event

44164142110_64e761266f_z

It was a family affair.  Our NEO Red Cross family.

Dozens of volunteers and donors gathered on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Regional Headquarters in Cleveland to hear CEO Mike Parks offer his sincere appreciation for the time, talent and treasure they donate to help fulfill the Red Cross mission.

Red Crossers from all five chapters – Greater Cleveland, Lake Erie/Heartland, Lake to River, Stark and Muskingum Lakes, and Summit. Portage and Medina Counties were represented at the Region’s Thanks for Giving event.

Visit our Facebook page to see Mike’s message, along with a video message from National Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern, and a couple of mission moment videos: one addressing the Red Cross effort to help those affected by wildfires in California,  the other with a leukemia survivor who is now an advocate for blood donations.  And see photos captured by communications volunteer Cal Pusateri in our Flickr album.

If you’d like to join our volunteer workforce, visit redcross.org/neo to explore the many volunteer opportunities available.