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

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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.

 

Happy Thanksgiving! Please donate blood!

A message from Regional CEO Mike Parks

Northeast Ohio Red Cross Family:  This is truly a special time of year.  This holiday, Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other, is truly reflective of the nature and character of the American Red Cross.  As we give thanks for all our bountiful blessings, we can’t help but reflect upon the countless people our organization has helped in their times of need.  This season is about caring about others—and that’s what the Red Cross does each and every day of the year.  Simply put, when there is a need–the American Red Cross shows up, cares, and serves.  For that, I’m incredibly grateful—to say nothing of the gratitude felt by those we serve.

Speaking of which, it’s been said we should begin each day with a grateful heart.  I am so grateful for all our partners & stakeholders, generous donors (blood products and financial), amazing volunteers, and dedicated staff who help us prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies each and every day.  Because of you—we’re able to accomplish the American Red Cross humanitarian mission—thank you!!

IMG_6437One of those missions is providing the nation a safe and secure blood supply.  It’s regrettable that less than 40% of our nation’s population CAN give blood (for a variety of reasons).  What’s far more regrettable is that less than 10% of that population CHOOSES to give blood.  My challenge to all of us is to not be part of that 90% of the population that can give but chooses not to donate this life saving product.  Please find time over the next five weeks to donate blood to the American Red Cross.  If you can’t donate, then please encourage a family member, colleague, and/or friend to give.  Every donation counts!!  Thank you in advance for making a difference and helping save lives!

If you’re travelling…please stay safe!  Thank you again for all you do as part of the world’s premier humanitarian organization!! I wish you and yours a wonderfully enjoyable & safe Thanksgiving.

Best regards…Mike

Travel tips to get you safely to your Thanksgiving celebration

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

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Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings people together to give thanks and celebrate their blessings. Relatives gather around the table to enjoy their family’s version of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Each year, millions of people drive to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, making it one of the busiest times for road traffic.

 

If you are headed “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house,” as the childhood song goes, prepare in advance to ensure a safe visit. The American Red Cross offers 10 tips to help you stay safe if you are traveling by car:

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  2. Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in the trunk.
  3. Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  4. Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
  5. Be well rested and alert.
  6. Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
  7. Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
  8. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  9. Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  10. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

‘Tis the season . . . flu season. So if public transportation is part of your travel plans, keep this in mind. From luggage to seats, everything that you touch is likely touched by someone else. Follow these tips to help avoid the spread of germs.

  1. Handle your own belongings.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  3. Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces, such as armrests.
  4. Bring your own pillows and blankets. They can act as a shield against the seat itself.

To find out what supplies you should have on hand in an emergency preparedness kit, the Red Cross offers this checklist and quiz to test your knowledge: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html.

You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to help you monitor severe weather and emergency alerts.

Whichever road leads to your Thanksgiving destination, these Red Cross tips and tools can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Safe travels!

Red Cross continues response to disasters in Northeast Ohio, even with ongoing relief efforts around the world

Weekend disasters affect dozens of residents in all 5 Northeast Ohio Chapters

 

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

The American Red Cross continues to respond to disaster relief efforts around the world, including responding to the California wildfires and Saipan following Super Typhoon Yutu.  Even with relief efforts underway far and wide, the Red Cross continues to respond to needs of residents right here in Northeast Ohio.

41870691712_5b3ee65587_zOver the weekend, the Red Cross responded to 17 incidents in all five chapters in Northeast Ohio, assisting 64 residents, and distributing more than $12,300 in immediate financial assistance to help people in their darkest hours.

 

The Lake to River Chapter was particularly hit hard.

Disaster workers in the Lake to River Chapter, which serves Ashtabula, Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, responded to seven incidents ranging from home fires to power outages, provided more than $4,700 in aid and opened a shelter for two-nights in Columbiana County for residents displaced from last week’s winter storms.

One particular case in Mahoning County, involving a grandmother, a mother and her five children, highlights the commitment the Red Cross has to serving the needs of residents in Northeast Ohio. As Karen Conklin, executive director of the Lake to River Chapter states, “What we do to help people in our community and the difference we make every day is amazing. Over the weekend, a fire started in the attic while the family was at church. Two adults and five children lost everything. While the family has a hard road to recovery, we responded with much more than a debit card. We gave them kindness, respect and hope. It was another mission moment I won’t soon forget. Because of the Red Cross and our volunteers, this family has begun the road to recovery. Without us they would be alone at their burned-out residence as the fire department rolls up their hoses and drives away. We are the difference.” IMG_5580

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 serve 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.

We also rely on the generosity of Northeast Ohio residents to continue to offer disaster relief and to provide support in a time of need. If you would like to provide a monetary donation, visit redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

10 cooking safety tips to keep you safe this Thanksgiving

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

Families across Northeast Ohio are preparing to see family and friends and celebrate the start of the holiday season around the dinner table. We’re  dreaming of turkey, pumpkin holiday-cooking-tips-twpie and football. While this time of year is exciting, our homes do not always look like a Norman Rockwell painting. It tends to be chaotic. There are kids and pets running around, aunts and uncles from across the country trying to get your attention and people enticed by the aromas trying to steal a taste of turkey. All this chaos can be overwhelming and distracting, which is why each year Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires.

Here are from 10 tips from the American Red Cross to help you protect yourself and your family from home fires:

  1. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
  2. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  3. While cooking, don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle.
  4. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires.
  5. If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
  6. Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
  7. Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  8. Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  9. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  10. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off. thanksgiving-768x542

Bonus Tip:

Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. The app provides users with quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency.

As you continue to prepare for an enjoyable and festive holiday, here is a video on holiday cooking safety tips you can watch with your family and friends so that everyone, especially little ones, remains safe:

 

From everyone at the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, we wish you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

 

Blood drive volunteer serves as ambassador inspiring others to volunteer and give lifesaving blood

By Ifat Gazia, American Red Cross Volunteer
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

 

Mariann Pete1A 77-year-old American Red Cross volunteer from Ashtabula, Ohio, Mariann Pete likes to help people and be there for them during their emergencies. Marianne started volunteering seven years ago with her primary duties focused on managing blood donors at Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) in Ashtabula County. An inspiration for people of all ages who consider volunteering part-time, Mariann has volunteered since 2002 two to three times every month with her weekly hours ranging between four to five.

In 1980, Mariann’s son needed expensive blood transfusions. Her friend became a donor. “It was my friend who came forward to donate his blood to my son. Transfusions at that time would have been otherwise unaffordable for me,” she said.

While reflecting on her volunteering experiences, Mariann added, “The practice of volunteering is very rewarding, allowing me to meet different people as well who come to ACMC hospital for their blood transfusions or donations. It is a good thing that I get to interact with all of them. The staff is also nice in the hospital and over the years I [have gotten] to know most of the people working there.”

Photos by Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

“Mariann Pete is very well-known and respected by all in her community,” said Tara Dragon, Red Cross Account Manager. “She welcomes all donors with a loving, caring smile, volunteering with all of her heart.  She is a great help to myself and to the American Red Cross in making a difference in her community, and to the lives of recipients and donors.  I want thank Mariann personally for all that she does.”

Other than volunteering at ACMC on a routine basis where she registers the donors and sometimes manages the canteen, Mariann also volunteers at blood drives in different schools and churches in and around Ashtabula County.

There is a critical need for blood donor ambassadors like Mariann in Ashtabula County, and for blood donors throughout Northeast Ohio to help replenish the lifesaving supply during the severe blood shortage currently being experienced. Their efforts are vital as the Red Cross heads into the difficult holiday blood collection season. Visit redcross.org/neo for more information and to complete a volunteer application.  And to make a blood donation appointment, visit redcrossblood.org