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.

Genuine Generosity Grows in Northeast Ohio

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

During disasters, we often see the best in our neighbors – caring, volunteering and donating to help alleviate human suffering. Northeast Ohio has long been noted for its generosity, and during the recent spate of disasters, the Greater Cleveland Chapter has the cards and letters to prove it.

Donation letters

Ever since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, one woman has sent in an envelope each and every day with one dollar and a personal note. Some are marked for Harvey, while others are for the California fires.  Each note offers thanks to the Red Cross for the services we offer and asks for prayers for the victims, the first responders as well as for her own full-time employment search.

Another woman, moved with compassion, but without the means to contribute, assembled an envelope full of coupons she had collected. She mailed those into our office, with a request to pass them on to any of the victims trying to get back on their feet.

In October, a woman called, wanting directions to our office. She had a cash donation and wanted to make sure it got into the right hands to aid in general disaster relief.  Neither she nor her husband appeared to be people of means, but they felt compelled to help and had withdrawn $800 from her husband’s postal service retirement account.

And last month, yet one more example of how our community comes together to help others in need. The ladies of the Fourth Wednesday Bridge Group wanted to help and sent in a collective donation from all their members to aid the people of Puerto Rico.

There’s no donation too small. As Giving Tuesday approaches, log on to https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation to make a one-time or monthly donation.

Ways to Brighten Black Friday

By: Sue Wilson, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Black Friday. The kick off to what is suppose to be the most joyous time of the year. Yet, a trip to any mall parking lot or big box retailer shows anything but joy. Black Friday can be a dark day, exemplifying the worst of consumerism in the holidays, and by the end of it we often hear some dreadful news story about customers rushing into stores, battling over a limited number of “door buster” specials. Sales consultant, Steven A McQueen, tweeted: “Black Friday is the day we trample people for things we don’t need, the day after being thankful for what we have.”

We have been convinced, through a bombardment of advertising messages, that the holiday season is all about MORE. Spending more money on more presents to fill our spaces with more stuff that we’ll be paying off for a long time.

If stepping back from the consumerism of gift giving sounds good to you, here are four suggestions to bring some meaning back to the holidays:

  1. Give the gift of time. Volunteer with an organization you believe in. Every single day, the Red Cross helps people in emergencies. Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran or support to a military family member, our vital work is made possible by people like you. It is through the time and care of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things. Click here for information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.
  2. Give something that means something. Honor a friend or family member with a gift that helps those in need. When you donate to the Red Cross you are helping people who face emergencies every day rebuild their lives. 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.
  3. Give something practical. If you still enjoy giving traditional gifts, you can shop online at the Red Cross Store and give a practical gift; the gift of preparedness for emergencies, with first aid kits, a hand-crank radio that can charge your cell phone, water bottles and more.
  4. Donate Blood. The holidays are a hectic time with upcoming travel, family gatherings and festive events. But hospital patients don’t get a holidays from needing lifesaving blood donations. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets visit  redcrossblood.org.

Brighten up Black Friday. Give …rather than buy.