Enjoy the open road as you help save lives

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

January 10, 2020- Do you enjoy the freedom of driving on the open road? Are you always volunteering to drive around family and friends? Are you looking for an opportunity to help save lives, while enjoying your love of driving? Well, you are in luck!

Volunteer Couriers

The American Red Cross is currently looking for passionate drivers to serve as volunteer transportation specialists in Cuyahoga County. This unique opportunity allows volunteers to support blood pick-up at both mobile and fixed site blood drives in Cuyahoga County.

The Red Cross collects and distributes about 40% of our nation’s blood supply. As a volunteer transportation specialist, when you pick up blood, platelets or other blood products from a blood collection site or deliver them to a hospital, you’re delivering lifesaving hope to a person in need.

Volunteer Couriers

Still not sure if this is quite the right fit? Listen to Peter Hoffman, one of the transportation specialists in Cuyahoga County. Hear why Peter volunteers with the Red Cross, some of his tasks and the feeling he gets from helping others in need.

For more information and to apply to become a volunteer transportation specialist, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

 

Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster report: January 3-5, 2020

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

January 6, 2020- For many in Northeast Ohio, the first weekend of a new year serves as a time to take down remaining holiday decorations, get a start on new resolutions and catching up on rest following the the holiday rush. However, for some, the new year can be a time to cope with loss and trying to rebuild.

This weekend, January 3-5, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responded to nine separate home fires in Cuyahoga, Richland, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties.

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Disaster Action Team (DAT) members assisted, 18 adults, 21 children and provided over $8,500 in immediate financial assistance to help individuals experiencing the worst days of their lives attempt to rebuild their lives.

 

As the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross has the ability to use your donation to reach more people in need, more quickly. Your donation to the Red Cross helps provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.

To help the Red Cross provide hope and comfort to individuals in Northeast Ohio experiencing their darkest hours, please visit redcross.org/donate to provide a financial donation. Any amount donated truly helps with their recovery.

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Volunteers are the face of the Red Cross. Without their tremendous and selfless dedication, we would not be able to serve the 22 counties and 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio.

Be one of the many volunteers that make up 90 percent of the Red Cross’ workforce and help others in need in your local community by becoming a Red Cross volunteer today.  Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more and to apply

Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster report: December 20-22, 2019

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

December 23, 2019- As Northeast Ohio residents scurried along in search of the perfect last minute holiday gifts for everyone on their list, the American Red Cross was assisting individuals experiencing the worst day of their lives.

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During the weekend of December 20-22, members of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Disaster Action Team (DAT) responded to 5 incidents, assisted 102 individuals and provided over $13, 900 in immediate financial assistance.

One of the disasters the DAT team responded to over the weekend was an apartment fire in Warrensville Heights. Currently, the Red Cross has assisted 89 affected residents of the Granada Gardens Apartments fire and provided $10,750 in immediate financial assistance.

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Just as disasters do not discriminate in terms of whose lives they destroy; the Red Cross does not discriminate in terms of whose lives we help rebuild. The Red Cross does not turn away people who need assistance after a disaster. We are committed to helping everyone in need.

As the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross has the ability to use your donation to reach more people in need, more quickly. Your donation to the Red Cross helps provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.

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To help the Red Cross provide hope and comfort to individuals in Northeast Ohio experiencing their darkest hours, please visit redcross.org/donate to provide a financial donation. Any amount donated truly helps with their recovery.

Also, without the tremendous dedication of our volunteers, the Red Cross would not be able to serve the 22 counties and 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio. Volunteers make up 90 percent of our workforce. Our volunteers are without a doubt the face of the Red Cross. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more and to apply to become a Red Cross volunteer today.

 

Red Cross and TravelCenters of America bring holiday joy to families following loss

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

December 20, 2019- On Dec. 18, the American Red Cross’ Northeast Ohio Regional headquarters in Cleveland was a scene of giving, reunion and holiday spirit, as Red Cross volunteers and staff handed out toys to children whose families faced home fires this year. Now in its 21st year, the event is made possible by the generosity of TravelCenters of America, whose employees collected more than 600 toys this year.

In one of several festive gatherings, 17 families with 50 children braved the winter weather to attend. They were greeted by Red Cross representatives and guided to an age-appropriate section. Children then picked from an astonishing array of stuffed animals, games, books, dolls, play sets, toy vehicles, art supplies, learning kits and other toys.

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Holiday decorations and gift-wrapping supplies were available for adults, and cookies and cocoa were served. Many expressed gratitude.

“God has blessed us with the Red Cross and other agencies that help,” said Johnita Smith. “This definitely comes at just at the right time for me and my family, as Christmas would have been very hard without assistance. We are very grateful.”

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Similarly, Zoralys Cruz said her family lost everything and otherwise would not have had presents for Christmas, so the toy drive means a lot. She said her family is recovering little by little, and they are grateful for everything.

Nearly 200 more children in Northeast Ohio will receive toys thanks to TravelCenters of America. Similar events are occurring throughout Northeast Ohio. Each Red Cross chapter is holding toy distributions this week, and many volunteers are delivering to families who live far or are unable to attend.

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While the focus is on the families and children, Red Cross volunteers and staff also enjoy the event.

“The event itself is powerful on many different levels,” said Renee Palagyi, senior program manager of Disaster Cycle Services for the Northeast Ohio Region. “People who have suffered horrible disasters now have something to give their children for the holidays. It is also important that our team members take part in this happy occasion. After all the tragedies and difficulties they’ve faced throughout the year, they, too, are lifted by it. Our team members see those who were initially met on their worst day, but now in a happy situation. That’s why I love it.”

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I can attest to that, as I was one of the responders who assisted Johnita’s family. I feel fortunate to have been able to help following a disaster. Participating in the toy drive, seeing a family I assisted, now in a festive setting, and helping them select toys made the season a bit brighter.

Over the next several weeks, the remaining toys will be distributed to families facing home fires and other disasters. Such tragedies are especially difficult during the holidays, particularly for children, and a toy can bring comfort as a family begins to recover. Thanks to the employees of TravelCenters of America, the Red Cross can lift their spirits and brighten their holidays.

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Watch the video below to hear a special message from Tina Arundel, manager, corporate communications for TravelCenters of America.:

Visit out Flickr page to view more photos from the toy giveaway event.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Donating to the Red Cross: Ideas for impactful giving

#GivewithMeaning during Holiday Campaign, kicking off on Giving Tuesday

Ben Bisbee, Grants Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

December 2, 2019- Every donation to the American Red Cross matters. Your gift of money or blood, time or talents, allows the Red Cross to smartly convert every kind of gift given to help people in need every single day. But when it comes to the topic of donations, it’s often unknown how many fantastic ways there are to donate to the Red Cross.

So this holiday season, we thought it would be smart to showcase all the dynamic ways you can powerfully and thoughtfully donate a gift to the Red Cross beyond the classic gift of credit, cash or checks.

REGULAR or SUSTAINING AUTOMATED GIFT

Preparedness is a major focus of the Red Cross mission. If you include the Red Cross as part of your annual or often-giving intentions, you can help us better plan and be prepared. Consider setting up a regular automated gift, such as monthly, quarterly, semi or annually. Many individuals and families choose this option to increase their giving without having to give one lump sum at one time. For some, it seems easier to give, say, $250 a month rather than $3,000 all at once.

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VEHICLE DONATION

Like a scene out of a movie or auto commercial, who doesn’t love the gift of a car for the holidays? The American Red Cross Vehicle Donation Program is an easy and effective revenue donation opportunity for anyone with a car, van, truck, RV, boat, tractor, heavy equipment or jet ski in almost any condition to simply donate their item as a cash donation. We work with a vendor to provide services from the time of donation through the initial acknowledgement to you, the donor, as well as post-donation customer service support.

LEAVE A LEGACY – PLANNED GIVING

  • Your passionate display of support can continue to make a difference. You can become a member of our Legacy Society simply by including the Red Cross in your estate planning. Many choose to be in our Legacy Society just by designating the Red Cross as a beneficiary of a life or insurance policy or a portion of their estate. By doing so and working with a financial advisor, this can benefit the Red Cross and leave a lasting legacy in your name.

GIFT OF STOCK

Sometimes donors consider making a gift of cash after selling key stock. This is a wonderful way to donate. However, we sometimes encourage a directed gift of stock to the Red Cross by the financial institution instead of converting a gift into cash first. This is because with a gift of appreciated securities held long-term, both the donation you make and the deduction you get are greater if you were to sell the shares and donate the cash proceeds. Essentially, this process allows you to avoid paying capital gains tax. Since 2019 has had such a robust stock market, this may be a great option for many. But please consult with your financial advisor/accountant.

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GIFT OF MUTUAL FUND 

The gift of a mutual fund is very similar to stock (donate directly vs. selling). However, there are some limitations, especially with regard to length of holding. After consulting with a financial advisor, the Red Cross will be glad to receive such a gift.

IRA ROLL-OVER

If you’re a donor over the age of 71, you have a unique option to give a special gift. The Charitable IRA Rollover allows individuals age 70½ and older to make direct transfers of up to $100,000 per year (and up to $200,000 per year for married couples) from individual retirement accounts to the Red Cross without having to count the transfers as income for federal tax purposes.

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SPECIAL EVENTS HELP SUPPORT THE OVERALL MISSION

Like many nonprofits, the American Red Cross enjoys the excitement and interaction of community events as fundraising opportunities. In 2020, you may consider participation in one or more of our upcoming major events:

  • Acts of Courage Awards, the Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties March 5.
  • Greater Cleveland Hero Awards Breakfast March 12.
  • BASH, Stark and Muskingum Lakes fundraising auction, May 30.
  • Acts of Courage Awards, the Red Cross Lake to River Chapter June 11.
  • Red Cross Cup golf outing September 21.

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Donating to the American Red Cross can be a rich and diverse experience depending on your opportunities and objectives. We hope these ideas will inspire you to think differently about ways you can contribute now or in the future. If you have any questions, contact Michelle Polinko, regional chief development officer, at 216-233-9645 or Michelle.Polinko@RedCross.org.

Please remember the Red Cross this holiday season to help those in need

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

November 29, 2019- Earlier this month, another volunteer and I sat with a woman outside her family’s home, which had been severely damaged by fire a few hours earlier. Toward the end of our discussion, we handed her an assistance packet. She looked at it for a moment, nodded and thanked us through tears. While the aid we provided consisted of objects and financial assistance, there was also something greater: the beginning of recovery, of moving forward.

In Northeast Ohio, moments like these happen three times a day, on average. They are among the many critical services provided by the American Red Cross — and are made possible through generous donations from people like you.

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The holiday giving season is now in full swing, and many of us seek ways to express gratitude to loved ones. For Black Friday, Giving Tuesday and throughout the season, please consider helping others as well, whether they are recovering from a disaster, serving their country, learning lifesaving skills, in need of smoke alarms, in need of blood or facing medical issues. These are among the community members the Red Cross assists every day.

Whatever you can give is very impactful. For instance, $2.50 covers the cost of a comfort kit with hygiene supplies, while $5 provides someone with a blanket, and $15 covers the cost of fire safety training and installation of a smoke alarm.

California Wildfires 2019

Similarly, a $50 donation can provide hot meals for five people, a day’s worth of supplies to a person in an emergency shelter, or it can help connect veterans and their families to critical community services such as food, housing, mental health support and rehabilitation. A $100 gift can provide lifesaving vaccinations for 100 children facing an increased risk of measles and rubella around the world, or it can supply a crib for an infant in a shelter. A donation of $145 can provide hospital kits for 20 service members. Training and installation of a smoke alarm for a deaf or hearing-impaired person is possible through a $150 donation, while $200 can cover the cost to deploy an Emergency Response Vehicle or provide a full day of food and shelter for a family of four.

These are just a few of the examples of what a Red Cross financial donation can provide. If you are able to help, please visit redcross.org/gift.

 

Blood donor

There are other ways to contribute as well. Donating blood is especially important during the holiday season as busy schedules and winter weather make collection more difficult. For more information or to schedule a donation, visit redcrossblood.org. Volunteers are also needed in a number of areas. If you can help, visit redcross.org/volunteer for more information or to apply.

As a volunteer, I have been honored to see the positive impact and effectiveness of Red Cross services and am grateful for the contributions that make it possible. If you are able to provide financial assistance, volunteer or give blood, please consider helping the Red Cross this Giving Tuesday and throughout the season.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season – Give Blood!

Community urged to help patients in need across northeast Ohio

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

November 25, 2019- The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets. While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give Nov. 18-Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

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As schedules fill with holiday parties, shopping and fun with friends and family, many blood and platelet donors delay giving. Unfortunately, that may lead to delays in treatments for patients relying on blood. Right now, there is a critical need for type O blood donors.

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Join the Red Cross and Cleveland Clinic for a special Black Friday blood drive Friday, Nov. 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Emerald Event Center. The center is located at the Residence Inn by Marriott, 33040 Just Imagine Drive in Avon. All who come to donate will also receive a Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last and enjoy a catered meal.

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Your blood donation may give a patient in need more time – and more holidays – with loved ones. To make an appointment or for more information download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.