Red Cross continues to respond to Hurricane Michael disaster relief

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

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The American Red Cross has continued to respond to the Hurricane Michael disaster relief effort, with Northeast Ohio playing a significant role in the support.

On October 11, Hurricane Michael came ashore and made its way across Alabama, Florida and Georgia, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 upon landfall, making it the third-strongest hurricane in U.S. history. It was also the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 50 years. A week since the storm, tens of thousands of people are still dealing with the destruction.

As always, when there is a need for compassion and humanitarian support, the Red Cross has been helping those affected and will remain there as people begin to recover and rebuild. Some people are still living without power, running water and other basic necessities. Many schools and medical facilities are closed, roads are still blocked and several bridges have been damaged.

The Red Cross is working around the clock to get help where it’s most needed. The situation throughout the region remains challenging and staff and volunteers are doing all they can to provide shelter, food, water and relief supplies to people in need.

As of October 18, more than 1,840 people stayed in as many as 16 Red Cross and community evacuation centers across Florida and Georgia. In the week since the storm, the Red Cross and other organizations have provided more than 27,400 overnight stays in emergency shelters in total, with the Red Cross providing about 83 percent of the stays.

Across the three states, more than 1,600 Red Cross disaster workers, including 21 from Northeast Ohio, are on the ground to support relief efforts, such as serving more than 477,800 meals and snacks and distributing more than 36,600 relief items like cleanup kits, rakes, shovels, bleach, garbage bags and much more to help with the massive cleanup effort. In addition, volunteer mental health and health services professionals have provided 6,700 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees.

After two major hurricanes in less than a month, thousands of people are looking for help. If you are interested in assisting those in need, visit redcross.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

If you are unable to provide support during a disaster relief effort, there are other ways you can assist right here in Northeast Ohio. The Red Cross depends on financial donations to fund our relief services. To donate, visit redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Red Cross also has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. The Red Cross provides roughly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and Hurricanes Michael and Florence have forced the cancellation of about 250 blood drives, causing approximately 7,600 units of blood to go uncollected. The Red Cross is asking for eligible individuals to make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Thank You for Giving on Red Cross Giving Day

Your gift means so much.

We reached our Giving Day goal, and will be able to help 28,678 families thanks to the generosity of our donors. This brief video illustrates just a few of the ways your donations will help people when they face emergencies like home fires, hurricanes and flooding.

 

Just this week, disaster workers responded to the Rainbow Terrace apartment building fire in Cleveland, where residents from 30 units were forced to flee before dawn on Monday, March 26.  The Red Cross provided more than $8,200 dollars to help 63 residents meet their immediate needs.  While many of the residents are being housed in once-vacant apartments throughout the complex, they lost all of their possessions in the fire.

 

While Giving Day is over, the need for disaster relief is constant.  Red Cross workers respond to three home fires every 24 hours, on average, in Northeast Ohio.  The need for volunteers to assist people in their darkest hours is constant, too.  To learn more about volunteering, visit redcross.org/neo, and click the Volunteer tab.  You can also make a donation to disaster relief, to help people who suffer from disasters, big and small.

Help Humanity – And Get a Tax Deduction

It’s been quite a year – Red Cross supporters, volunteers and donors achieved incredible things for families and individuals in need, in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country.

Here’s a look back at some of the incredible work we accomplished with the help of our partners in 2017:

  • We were able to provide 658,000 overnight shelter stays to people affected by imagejpeg_0 (002)disasters like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, historic wildfires and hundreds of home fires. In Northeast Ohio, we responded to about 1,000 incidents, the vast majority of them home fires, helping more than 4,100 people.
  • We distributed more than 7 million disaster relief items during these countless disasters, helping families who had lost everything get back on their feet. In Northeast Ohio, we provided about $800,000 in financial assistance to residents who experienced a disaster.
  • More than 5.7 million people received Red Cross Health and Safety training, including life-saving emergency and first-aid information from Red Cross mobile apps.
  • IMG_4281Volunteers installed 418,460 smoke alarms, including more than 16,000 in Northeast Ohio to make homes safer, bringing the total number installed to more than one million since our Home Fire Campaign began in 2014.
  • More than 2.7 million people chose to give blood or platelets through the Red Cross, helping to save lives at about 2,600 hospitals throughout the country.
  • Over 76,900 military families benefited from emergency communication services provided by the Red Cross.

Each family we meet has a unique story. We were there when we needed to be, for those who needed us most, thanks entirely to supporters and donors.

The need won’t change in 2018, which is why we need to be ready before the next emergency. Will you make your year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross today?

A Meaningful Gift This Christmas

Give Something That Means Something

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

171203-5770It’s a few days before Christmas, and you can feel the stress. You run in and out of stores aimlessly grabbing items for people you feel you need to buy for; annoyed with yourself that once again you feel the same way this year as you’ve felt in years past:

Why didn’t I start my Christmas shopping earlier?

Why do I spend all this money on gifts that won’t be remembered long after the paper has been ripped from the package?

Is THIS what Christmas is all about?

I’m here to tell you “NO,”  it’s not.

Christmas is special. Whether you celebrate as a religious holiday, a completely secular holiday, or somewhere in-between, most of us have been conditioned to believe (and most of us want to believe) there there is magic to this season. It represents hope for goodwill toward all. Peace in our family, our community, our world. As we end a tumultuous year, we want to believe the  Christmas spirit will heal the hurt that may exist in our lives.

So how can you give a gift that represents that?

This past week gave me an idea. A colleague of mine lost his brother in a tragic accident. Just one week before Christmas; he is gone. Any death is tough, but a sudden death… a week before Christmas? It just puts the mad rush through Target to buy something than means nothing into perspective. I’ve been reading the wonderful things about this man. People are sharing memories, photos and stories of how he affected their lives. All these kind words are being said that this man will never hear, and it made me think: why can’t we say these things now? What kind of gift would it be to post photos, tell stories, and say wonderful things about the people who mean something to us while they can still hear it…and NOT just save it for a funeral?

Inspired by that, I am writing notes to the people I love this year, telling them what I love about them. I am telling them what I would say if they weren’t here, while they still are. And I am enclosing a gift of a donation in their name to a charity I think would mean something to them. If you like that idea, let me suggest a charity worthy of your donation: The Red Cross

If, hypothetically, you were the victim of a house fire, who would be comforting you and your family with a blanket around your shoulders, and guidance to a shelter? Volunteers from The Red Cross. In the event of a  hurricane, flood, or any natural disaster….the Red Cross is there. Need Blood? The Red Cross. Need to get word to a military family member? The Red Cross.

The Red Cross can be there to fill these needs because of the monetary support from donors like you. So if you want to give a meaningful gift that will be remembered long after the chaos of Christmas morning fades, write a letter and tell someone you what you love about them, and make a donation in their name. You can personalize and be specific with this link and gift certificate to include in your card.

And have a Meaningful Merry Christmas!

 

Give with Meaning

When you support the work of the American Red Cross on #GivingTuesday, or any of the other 364 days of the year, you are supporting the tireless work of our dedicated volunteer workforce.

Now, across the year we average three home fires a night in the Northeast Ohio Region. Last night we responded to seven.

Through your generosity, we were able to provide $5,955 in financial assistance to 14 adults and 18 children who experienced a home fire.

And that’s just one night.

If you would like to “Give with Meaning” by supporting our mission visit redcross.org/donate, or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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What is Giving Tuesday?

By: Sue Wilson, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Giving Tuesday started in 2012 as a social media movement to celebrate and encourage giving to charitable causes that serve the greater good, and a way to combat the consumerism that has overtaken the holiday season. It is celebrated the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Under the hashtag #GivingTuesday, it’s founders hope that people will be inspired by the spirit of the season to want to help those less fortunate. And the timing is perfect as so many people are making year-end charitable contributions for tax purposes.

This #GivingTuesday we hope you’ll join with the Red Cross and their #GiveWithMeaning program. This year is especially critical for the Red Cross as it comes after a year of record-breaking and devastating disasters, from hurricanes to wildfires to home fires that have left communities reeling and lives destroyed.

Here are some simple ways to donate to the Red Cross through Giving Tuesday:

Donate when shopping: If you shop online and use Amazon, register for their Amazon Smile Program. When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization. You can pick the charity of your choice from a list of hundreds. Simply search and select American Red Cross.

Donate money: Donations can help provide safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health services to people in need. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit redcross.org/gifts and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to the community, or call 1-800-RED CROSS to support Red Cross services.

Donate blood: The holidays are a hectic time with upcoming travel, family gatherings and festive events, yet hospital patients don’t get a holiday from needing lifesaving blood donations. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org.

Donate time: Volunteers are the backbone of the Red Cross and help respond to the needs of communities affected by disasters big and small. To learn more about becoming a volunteer, visit redcross.org. 

“Smile” this Monday

By: Sue Wilson, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving, following Black Friday. The term “Cyber Monday” was created by marketing companies to encourage online shopping  If you plan to do any online shopping and you use Amazon, check out  AmazonSmile. It is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com, but when you shop on AmazonSmile,  the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

Just click  Amazon Smile to register for the program. When first visiting, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from the almost one million eligible. Type  “Red Cross” in the search bar and select it as your charity of choice.  For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected  organization. Again, simply search and select  American Red Cross.  Note: The Red Cross is not being paid any fees to promote Amazon or AmazonSmile, but if you make The Red Cross your designated charity, it will receive a percentage as a donation.

You can also donate directly to the Red Cross to help provide safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health services to people in need. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit redcross.org/gifts and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to the community, or call 1-800-RED CROSS to support Red Cross services.

Donate blood: The holidays are a hectic time with upcoming travel, family gatherings and festive events, yet hospital patients don’t get a holiday from needing lifesaving blood donations.  To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org.

Donate time: Volunteers are the backbone of the Red Cross and help respond to the needs of communities affected by disasters big and small. To learn more about becoming a volunteer, visit redcross.org.