A question that changed Christmas for me

By Sue Wilson, Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter board of directors. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

About five years ago, my daughter asked me a question, and although I certainly didn’t expect my answer to be that profound, it actually changed the way I looked at Christmas. She asked, “Mom, do you remember any of the gifts you received last Christmas?” I had to think long and hard. And I was embarrassed that I could not.

She then pointed out that every year we spend far too much money and time getting stressed about gifts, and that isn’t what Christmas should be about. She said that as a new mom and living states away, the best gift was being home. Plus, although she wanted to make Christmas special for her kids, she didn’t want them focused on the consumerism that Christmas had turned into. I was proud that she, and my other daughter, too, felt that the best memories from childhood were laughing, cooking, eating, playing board games and watching Christmas movies. So, we all agreed we’d scale back on the gift buying.

Historical First AidAlthough we haven’t completely stopped giving gifts–we have cut way back—and the gifts we give now are intentional, mindful and less tangible. We give gifts of time and experiences. Gifts that are practical. Our standards: If you can’t use it, wear it because you need it, eat it or take part in it, we won’t buy it. No more impractical “stuff” to sit on a shelf. We’ve also incorporated giving gifts that have true meaning–gifts for the greater good. And one of those is making a donation to a worthy cause. After I joined the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter, giving gifts of meaning became even more important to me.

This year, there are so many who will not be celebrating Christmas as they did last year because their home was destroyed by the devastation of a wildfire or hurricane. Every night, in any given city, there is a home fire. I’ve seen first-hand the work the Red Cross does on a local and national level, and to continue to do this work your financial support is needed. Here are three creative and meaningful gift ideas:

  • For disaster relief, donate here. (Print a card or certificate to tell a loved one that you donated in their honor.)
  • 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.
  • Visit redcross.org/gifts and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to people in need. 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_2_FINAL

All donations are tax-deductible and will support Red Cross programs like Disaster Services, Service to the Armed Forces, Blood Services and International Services.

This holiday, give something that means something, and you’ll feel just like Mr. Scrooge did when he woke up-giddy on Christmas morning knowing he was going to make so many people’s lives better. Give, that’s what Christmas spirit is all about.

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. 

Reporting for Duty: Mike Parks Deploying to Louisiana

Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region, is deploying to Louisiana.

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NEO CEO Mike Parks, addressing Red Cross workers during flood relief work in West Virginia in July, 2016

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Parks.  “People need help right now. This is who we are as the Red Cross, caring servants. I am proud to join over 2,500 Red Cross workers – 13 of whom are from Northeast Ohio – already in Louisiana.”

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles, including 2 from Northeast Ohio, are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Some residents remain in shelters.

Since the onset of flooding in Louisiana, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 55,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.In addition, more than 466,000 meals and snacks have been served.

“Our help is just beginning. We will be there to help people recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask people to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.”

Learn more here how the Red Cross is giving people a place to go when there is no place to go through the words of one woman who has lost everything.

HOW TO HELP People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

 

Red Cross Cup Raises Funds For Disaster Relief

Money to Help People Who Suffer from Disasters Big and Small

Cancelling a golf tournament seems trivial, when considering the reason.

Flooding.  Homes destroyed.  Lives lost.

That’s why the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia has been cancelled.

“We are heartbroken by the devastation that the residents of West Virginia are experiencing at this time and the reports of lives lost due to the terrible flooding,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “Canceling The Greenbrier Classic is certainly the most prudent course of action as our foremost concern is the well-being of those who are having to live through this tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

The American Red Cross responded to the flood zone immediately. Several volunteers from Northeast Ohio are among the hundreds of Red Cross workers assisting residents who lost their homes. The Red Cross is operating or supporting shelters, providing food and water, replacing prescription medications and eyeglasses, and offering mental health support, to help people cope during their darkest hours.

We are fortunate that no disaster of that magnitude has affected Northeast Ohio, and that we were able to host the Red Cross Cup last month.

One hundred and twelve golfers gathered to play on Monday, June 13th at the world renowned Canterbury Golf Club. The outing was a benefit for the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region.

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Canterbury Golf Club is one of only three U.S. course to have hosted the five rotating Men’s Major Golf Championships, and has been the home for the Red Cross Cup for six years now. The 2016 Red Cross Cup was made possible through the generous support of Presenting Sponsor, Home Savings.

“Home Savings’ investment in the Red Cross as the presenting sponsor of this event will have a significant impact on the lives of others in Northeast Ohio,” according to John McCann, member of the Board of Directors for the Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter.

Additional sponsors of the 2016 Red Cross Cup included the Breakfast Sponsor, the Cleveland Zoological Society and the Caddy Sponsor, Donley’s.

Mike Parks, CEO of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region reflected on the impact the Red Cross and its volunteers had this season, saying “This has been a very busy spring season for the American Red Cross, with unrelenting flooding in Texas. Nearly 9,000 Red Cross workers—about 90 percent of them volunteers—including some from Northeast Ohio sprang into action to offer shelter, food and comfort in hard-hit communities.”

He continued, bringing the message back to Northeast Ohio and the impact the Red Cross has here, on a wide range of disasters, such as the three house fires that occur, on average, every day in Northeast Ohio.

“During their darkest hour, the victims of these fires become our clients, and are offered immediate financial assistance, mental health services when needed, and a way forward on their road to recovery.”

At the event proceeded, a silent auction included items such as a Chef’s’ Table for 12 at Crop Bistro in Ohio City and a Cavaliers benchwarmer package, which includes access to the Cavs bench during pregame warmups, Court Club access, and an autographed Kevin Love jersey.

The 2016 Red Cross Cup raised more than $100,000, which will be used to further aid and support the American Red Cross Mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

The winners of the event were as follows:

1st Place Winners:

Competitive – Bruce Leff, Leff Electric Co.

Scramble –  Dominion

2nd Place Winners:

Competitive – Justin Roth, Zenith Systems

Scramble – Fox Sports Ohio

3rd Place Winners:

Competitive – Jim Tweardy, Leff Electric Co.

Scramble – Sherwin-Williams

Meantime, in West Virginia, entire families have lost their homes and everything they own. The Red Cross needs your help to continue its work in West Virginia and everywhere disaster strikes. Your support will help people affected by disasters big and small. You can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief by contacting Scott Thompson, Regional Development Officer at 216-431-3064, or email scott.thompson@redcross.org. You can also text WVFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

American Red Cross volunteer Anmol Nigam contributed to this article

Cedar Fair and The Red Cross Reward Donors this Summer with Tickets to Theme Parks

By Anmol Nigam, American Red Cross Volunteer

How would you like to go to  Cedar Point for free? All you have to do is give blood at a select blood drive this summer.

The Red Cross is offering free tickets to blood donors at select blood drives this summer, thanks to a partnership with Cedar Fair theme parks and Cleveland’s iHeartMedia. Donors also have a chance to win many additional prizes, including one of two grand prizes.

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Photo courtesy of Cedar Fair, with permission

The Red Cross provides 40% of the nation’s blood to save countless lives. Blood and platelet donors of all types are always in need.

Christy Peters, the External Communications Manager for the Red Cross Northern Ohio Blood Services Region reminds volunteers, “Blood and platelet donations are especially needed during the summer months when donations slow due to summer vacations and travel among regular donors.”

One ticket to a Cedar Fair theme park will be offered to each donor at select blood drives. Participating theme park locations include Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Knott’s Berry Farm, Carowinds, Dorney Park, Michigan Adventure, Valley Fair, and California’s Great Adventure. Tickets are limited, so sign up at one of these blood drives by going to redcrossblood.org,  calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767,) or by registering through the Red Cross Blood App.

6/21/16 Bainbridge Town Hall 1 – 7 p.m. 17826 Chillicothe Rd. Chagrin Falls 44023
6/22/16 Packard Music Hall 12  – 6 p.m. 1703 Mahoning Ave. Warren 44483
6/24/16 Mentor Civic Arena 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. 8600 Munson Rd. Mentor 44060
6/29/16 Castaway Bay 2 – 7 p.m. 2001 Cleveland Rd. Sandusky 44870
6/30/16 Massillon Recreation Center 12  – 7 p.m. 505 Erie Street N Massillon 44646
7/8/16 Hilton Garden Inn Mayfield Village 1 – 7 p.m. 700 Beta Dr. Mayfield Village 44143
7/13/16 Dave & Buster’s 2 – 8 p.m. 25735 First St. Westlake 44145
7/19/16 Heartland Community Church 1 – 7 p.m. 3400 Weymouth Rd. Medina 44256
7/22/16 United Methodist Church 12 – 7 p.m. 1435 E. Main St. Kent 44240
7/26/16 Independence Community Center 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 6363 Selig Dr. Independence 44131
7/29/16 iHeartMedia 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 7461 South Avenue Boardman 44512
8/1/2016 Cornerstone Community Church 1 – 7 p.m. 5344 Fishcreek Rd. Stow 44224
8/4/16 American Red Cross Wayne County 1 – 7 p.m. 124 N. Walnut St. Wooster 44691
8/10/16 Cuyahoga Community College 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 11000 Pleasant Valley Rd. Cuyahoga 44130

Donors also have a chance to win a grand prize package and discounts for $2 off the purchase of additional Cedar Fair tickets.  The grand prize is a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm with travel and hotel accommodations along with admission to the park.  Enter for a chance to win any of these prizes by visiting redcrossblood.org/cedarfair.

And, as a special thanks to Red Cross donors, Cedar Fair is also offering a discount on Cedar Fair tickets purchased through redcross.cedarfair.com. Since prizes are limited and the Cedar Fair blood drives end by September 5th, sign up to donate soon!  Your donation can help save a life.

Stand with Us, Celebrate Red Cross Giving Day

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The American Red Cross is launching its first Giving Day on June 2, asking everyone in Northeast Ohio to make a donation to the Red Cross at to help ensure that help is available wherever and whenever people need it.

Life can change in one day, leaving someone with nothing – without a home, without their belongings, without hope. For so many of these people, the American Red Cross is the answer. We need the public’s support.

Red Cross Giving Day is a 24-hour national fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross in communities across the country each and every day. The theme of Giving Day is “All In One Day” because the Red Cross is “all in” every day, helping people to get back on their feet.

On June 2nd, we have 24 hours to turn compassion into action. On this one day, please donate to the Red Cross so we can be there to help people in need.

To take part in Giving Day and support the work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/givingday. All in one day, working together, we can bring help and hope to people when they need it most.

Each day in communities across the country and around the world, the Red Cross comforts disaster victims, supplies blood to patients in need, supports members of the military and teaches people lifesaving skills. Nationally, the Red Cross:

  • Responds nearly 200 times a day to help a family affected by a home fire or other disaster.
  • Provides nearly 5,600 blood transfusions a day to patients in need.
  • Gives 15,500 people a day lifesaving health and safety training.
  • Provides nearly 1,000 services a day to military members, their families and veterans.
  • With the help of partners, gives 308,000 children a day measles or rubella vaccinations.