Friday, March 16, 2012

Disasters Mount and Who Responds?


Natural disasters.  If it seems to you like we’ve heard about more of them in the last year than ever before, you’d be right.  In fact, President Obama issued a record 99 major disaster declarations in 2011, compared to the annual average of just 37 for the past 50 years.
Looking at the recent string of tornadoes that tore through 10 states, killing dozens of people and flattening neighborhoods, 2012 may not be any better.

Who deals with tragedies like natural disasters every day?  The American Red Cross. It reports that it responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year worldwide, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected.
Red Cross Blood Services also collects and distributes more than 40 percent of America’s blood supply. And, more than 9 million people across the United States receive American Red Cross training in first aid, water safety and other skills every year.
Once a year in March the president proclaims it Red Cross month so the Red Cross can fundraise for its efforts throughout the year. So what can you do to help the Red Cross help people going through disasters?
One of the best things is to become a monthly donor.  You can donate to your local chapter, to a particular disaster or to wherever the need is greatest.  You can also give stocks, mutual funds or gifts through your will.  The Red Cross also allows text donations of $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999 for disaster relief.

If you are a woman who can give at least $10,000 to the Red Cross, you can become part of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders.  The Women's Relief Corps of the North and the United Daughters of the Confederacy of the South provided Tiffany windows in 1917 for the Board of Governors Hall at the Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C for $10,000.  Since 2006 there has been a Society for women who can provide that much money to the Red Cross.
Another way to help is to volunteer. Volunteers make up 96 percent of the Red Cross’s total work force. You can find volunteer opportunities near you by running a search through Volunteer Match or calling your local chapter. The Red Cross needs volunteers for a number of things, from teaching classes to coordinating with the local government.

The Red Cross was actually founded in Switzer land in 1863 by Henry Dunant and four other men and started out by caring for the wounded in wars. Clara Barton and some of her friends founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. in 1881.

This month, consider giving to the Red Cross or volunteering with them.  They have been needed more than ever in the last year and could use your help. 




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