Emergency need: Donors urged to give blood and platelets now

January 16, 2019 – A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now Blood Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 2018to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care. The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply, as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types, and blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.

You can help!

  1. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  2. Let your friends and family know there is an emergency need for blood and platelet donors and ask them to #GiveNow.
  3. Bring someone to donate with you.
  4. Host a blood drive so others can give – be it at your office location, place of worship or community organization.

Your support can help ensure that blood products are there for trauma victims, premature babies, patients going through cancer treatment and others who depend on transfusions for survival.

The hospitals that rely on blood and blood products collected by the Red Cross regularly hold blood drives of their own. One such hospital is the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Blood Donation 2018

From the days of Clara Barton and our founding, the Red Cross has had a strong relationship with members of the military, veterans and their families.  Every day, the Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world. Furthermore, Susan Fuehrer, director of the Northeast Ohio VA healthcare system, also serves on the Red Cross’ Greater Cleveland board of directors.

On February 1 from 7 AM to 5 PM, the Cleveland VA Medical Center will be hosting a blood drive, which is open to the public.

Are you unable to donate on February 1st, but have space on your calendar on February 12th to give life? Well, you are in luck!  Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights will be hosting its annual blood drive, which is the largest in the region. The blood drive will be held on Tuesday, February 12th at 6111 Landerhaven Drive from 7 AM-7 PM.

Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors across the country are needed to help save lives. Don’t wait to help. Give now.

Love to drive? Become a Volunteer Transportation Specialist

By Courtney Roach, Manager, Biomedical Volunteer Workforce Engagement

How does it feel to help save a life? This is your chance to find out! If you have a little free time, love driving, and enjoy meeting new people, the Red Cross has a great volunteer position for you. We are currently seeking Volunteer Transportation Specialists in Cuyahoga County. It’s a unique volunteer position that supports blood pickup at both mobile and fixed site blood drives.

blood 1-11Why Is This Position So Important?

The Red Cross collects and distributes about 40% of our nation’s blood supply. When you pick up blood, platelets or other blood products from a blood collection site or deliver them to a hospital, you’re delivering hope to a person when they need it most.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Transport blood and blood products from blood collection sites to the laboratory for processing
  • Pick up and return boxes as needed
  • Complete required paperwork and obtain signatures
  • Communicate and share feedback between Red Cross personnel and customers
  • Drive in a safe and responsible manner in a Red Cross Vehicle and always provide strong customer.

The Ideal Candidate:

  • Enjoys driving
  • Is physically able to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Is timely and prompt
  • Is highly self-sufficient and dependable

The vital work of the American Red Cross is made possible by volunteers who contribute their time and talents. Every day our drivers help save people’s lives.

To apply or for more information, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Melanie Collins at 330-204-6615 or melanie.collins4@redcross.org.

Put these resolutions on your 2019 list

By Samantha Pudelski and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers.

Blood Donation 2018It’s a new year, filled with new ambitions and goals to accomplish in 2019. In addition to the traditional resolutions of eating healthier, working to get that promotion or learning a new skill, consider adding a few of these resolutions to your list:

  1. Test your smoke alarms in your home, and make sure your household is prepared with an exit plan. Visit the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety page for tips and best practices.
  2. Pack an emergency preparedness kit in case of emergency or disaster to ensure you have the supplies you need for your home. Review the Red Cross checklist of items that every household needs to be prepared.
  3. Create an emergency plan for your home to prepare for the different types of emergencies that are mostly likely to happen where you live. You can access more information and plan templates here.California Wildfires 2017
  4. Have pets? Make sure you have an emergency plan for your pets, Many pets were displaced in the recent California wildfires, with households having to evacuate quickly with the approaching flames. You can create a plan for your household using these tips.
  5. Donate to the Red Cross and help us provide relief to those affected by disasters and other crises. You can donate by visiting redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  6. Give the gift of life by donating blood. Did you know that the Red Cross provides about 40 percent of our nation’s blood and blood components, but only about 10 percent of eligible people donate? You can learn more about donating blood and make your appointment here.
  7. Volunteer your time with the Red Cross. Did you know that 90 percent of Red Cross workforce is made up of volunteers, helping in a variety of capacities? If you are interested in making an impact in local communities, visit redcross.org/volunteer, contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.
  8. Stock your first aid kit. Make sure you have a kit handy in both your car and home. You can use this checklist from the Red Cross, or purchase a kit from the Red Sound the Alarm - South Carolina 2018Cross Store.

The Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross will continue to work toward the mission of the Red Cross in 2019 to:

  • Help people affected by disasters receive care, shelter and hope across the country and around the world.
  • Aid our communities to prepare and be ready for disasters.
  • Provide access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products to people across the country.
  • Help all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed.
  • Organize trained individuals to be nearby, in the event of an emergency, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.

Before the year ends, consider giving

By Doug Bardwell and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers

As the year comes to a close, many people spend time between Christmas and the New Year holiday with their yearly review and goal setting for next year. If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to.

Many people decide that they want to do more for those in need. If that thought is on Red Cross year end check listyour mind, please consider volunteering with the American Red Cross. Even if you can only commit to a few hours a week or a month, there’s a way for you to make a difference. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to get started and see what positions are needed now.

Others realize that their charitable donations aren’t where they should be. But fear not, there’s still time.

Did you know:

  • If you itemize your deductions, your donation can be used to lower your tax obligation in the year you donate.
  • Putting a check in the mail constitutes a donation made in the year it was mailed.
  • Contributions made on a credit card are deductible in the year they appear on your account, even if you pay them off in the following year.
  • Contribution limits for tax purposes are quite high. If you have an adjusted gross income of $100,000, you can donate up to $60,000 to a public charity.
  • If you donate property you’ve owned for at least a year, the donation is considered to be the fair market value of the item donated. If the property has appreciated in value, you’ll get the added benefit of that higher value.
  • Individuals who are 70-1/2 years old or older, can donate up to $100,000 directly from their IRA without having to claim it as taxable income.
  • To read more about these hints, refer to Charity Navigator’s website.

So, you’ve decided to donate before year-end. But, where to donate? Well, if you’re 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_3_FINALreading this, chances are you are already well aware that the American Red Cross is the preeminent organization for helping to prevent and alleviate human suffering in this country.

Only one decision left. Where would you like your donation applied? Our website’s donation page gives you four options:

  • Disaster Relief
  • Where it is needed most
  • Local Red Cross programs and services—this benefits Northeast Ohio chapter activities
  • Home fires

and you can pay via credit card or via PayPal.

Considering a donation other than online?

Here are some helpful links, no matter how you decide to donate:

Do you want to mail a check?  Send it to American Red Cross; 3747 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

If you’d like to donate by phone, call 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Donate by text: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to Disaster Relief.

Donating vehicles of any kind (running or not): Call 1-855-92 RC CAR (1-855-927-2227) or by visiting redcross.org/cardonation.

Donating stocks or mutual funds: Go here on our website.

Donating by Electronic Fund Transfer or Wire Transfer:  See below:

doug donation

If you are unable to make a financial contribution or to volunteer, you may also give life saving blood. The Red Cross provides roughly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. However, of the 38 percent of the population that is eligible to donate, less than ten percent actually donates. With someone in the U.S. needing blood every two seconds, your blood donation is vital. To make an appointment to donate, you may visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or you may download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Thanks for your donation—either your time, your blood or your money. Have a wonderful New Year!

Christmas marks birth of “Angel of the Battlefield” Red Cross founder

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

Merry Christmas! Billions of people around the globe will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today. This religious and cultural holiday is also the birth date of a significant figure in American history. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was born on December 25, 1821. It seems fitting that a day focused on giving marks the birth of a woman who dedicated her life to giving to those in need.

Matthew Brady Portrait of Clara BartonBorn Clarissa Harlowe Barton in Oxford Massachusetts, Clara was a shy child. She became a teacher at age 15 during a time when most teachers were men. She was also among the first women to be employed by the federal government. She moved to Washington, D.C., in the mid 1850s to work as a recording clerk in the U.S. Patent Office.

In Washington during the Civil War, Clara collected clothing, supplies and food for sick and wounded soldiers. But she felt she was needed most on the battlefields. She persuaded government and army leaders to provide her with passes to bring her volunteer services and medical supplies to battle sites and field hospitals. Her work earned her the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.”

Clara’s pioneering vision and commitment to service continued throughout her life. She founded the American Red Cross at age 60 and served as its first president. Her spirit of giving shines on to this day through the ongoing relief work of the organization she created.

In a second consecutive year of record wildfires, hurricanes, tragic shootings and other large crises, the Red Cross’ disaster workforce—90 percent volunteers—helped millions of people across the country.

In 2018, generous support enabled the Red Cross to:

  • Serve over 8.2 million meals and snacks
  • Distribute over 2.2 million relief items
  • Provide over 290,000 overnight stays in shelters
  • Make over 188,000 health and mental health contacts
  • Provide over 73,000 households with recovery support after home firesAmerican Red Cross Historical Photo

Locally, the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region responded to about 900 disasters, the vast majority of them home fires, assisting more than 4,200 people—about 1,600 families—and distributing about $800,000 in assistance in 2018.

To celebrate Clara’s birthday, if you would like to donate to the Red Cross and give something that means something on this momentous holiday, visit redcross.org/donate.

To read more about the life and achievements of Clara Barton, visit here.

Annual toy giveaway makes season brighter for families

By Brad Galvin and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers.

The annual TravelCenters of America Toy Giveaway event is Renee Palagyi’s favorite day of the year. Watching children with parents excitedly selecting toys and stuffed animals and enjoying hot cocoa, the Senior Disaster Program Manager of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region said, “This is a very important light at the end of a really challenging year for a lot of these recipients.”

IMG_5887In its 20th year, the Annual Toy Giveaway is an event where 200 children were invited to enjoy festive cheer and take home new toys and goodies. The event aims to make the holidays a little more cheerful for community members who have been the victims of various disasters.

Employees of TravelCenters of America, headquartered in Westlake, began the tradition of collecting toys for children 20 years ago. This year, members of Local 93 of the Cleveland Firefighters Union also contributed toys, as did many Red Cross employees.

On October 27, Wyonna Nash’s home was engulfed in a home fire. She and her children made it out safely but the past few months have been challenging. As she was helping her child choose a toy, she said, “We are grateful to the Red Cross. We are happy to be here. Without them, we don’t know where we would be.”

“Children need toys. This is Christmastime,” said Tom Liutkus, Senior Vice President of Marketing for TravelCenters of America. “We want them to have a memorable Christmas in what was otherwise a tragedy that may have occurred in their lives.” IMG_5894

Tom said that over the past 20 years, employees of TravelCenters of America have donated more than 5,500 toys for the annual giveaway.

The event was also attended by many volunteers who responded to disasters throughout the year. It’s a rewarding experience, since the last time the volunteers saw many of the recipients, they were dealing with one of the worst days of their lives; often, as firefighters were trying to salvage what was left of homes and apartment buildings.

IMG_5900Ellen Braun, a volunteer who has assisted with the toy drive over the last few years explained, “It’s all about giving back. The holidays are about kids and family. I just wish I could help more!”

Between the hugs, toys and messages of hope, the event was a wonderfully festive occasion that helped make the holidays a little brighter for families who have had a devastating 2018.  Watch a video of the event here.

You may also view more photos of the toy giveaway by visiting our Flickr page here.

If you’d like to help families who experience home fires and other disasters, you can donate to Disaster Relief, or become a Red Cross disaster services volunteer.  Visit redcross.org.neo for more information.

Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster response report: December 14-16, 2018

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

Over the weekend, the American Red Cross was once again very active responding to the needs of the residents of Northeast Ohio.

California Wildfires 2018During the weekend of December 14-16, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responded to seven incidents occurring in four of the five chapters in the region. The incidents occurred in Cuyahoga, Jefferson, Mahoning, Richland, Summit and Trumbull counties, resulting in 18 individuals receiving assistance and the distribution of more than $4,000 in immediate financial assistance.

While Northeast Ohio is not often impacted by large natural disasters, it does not mean the difficulty of those natural disasters are not felt in the region. Over the weekend, the Red Cross provided assistance to two families in Cuyahoga and Summit counties who each lost loved ones during the recent California wildfires. The families received financial support to assist with funeral expenses, and were provided access to Red Cross disaster mental health workers to aid in the grieving process.

“The care we provided the local families who were next of kin to women who died in theCalifornia Wildfires 2018 Camp Fire in California was under our Integrated Care Team,” stated Renee Palagyi, senior disaster program manager. “Integrated Care Team allows a family to have two or three key contact people from Red Cross who are available for an in-person visit and follow-up phone calls. Assistance included a relatively small amount of money to be used for any death-related or other expenses they may encounter. More importantly, we provided a local touch, both through our caseworker and our disaster mental health professional. In talking with these women, they were incredibly grateful to receive my call and to know that they would have someone specifically assigned to talk with them over the next several weeks as they work through pain I can’t begin to imagine.”

If you would like to provide a financial donation to assist the Red Cross in continuing to support the residents of Northeast Ohio in their time of need, visit redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.