With chapters all over the country, the American Red Cross has been in the forefront of relief efforts for disaster victims without prejudice and discrimination.
For more than 130 years, the American Red Cross has mobilized relief efforts to those severely affected by disasters not limited to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, floods, and storms, but also human-made disasters. With a red cross emblazoned on a white background, its mission is to alleviate human suffering in times of crisis.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
It is America’s premier emergency response humanitarian organization, which is part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The IFRC is an umbrella organization with nearly 200 national Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters. IFRC unite these chapters during international disaster relief programs. The seven (7) principles help bond all its members namely: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality.
According to Red Cross, their organization has responded every year to nearly 64,000 disasters, more than 50,000 relief items distributed internationally, more than 400,000 services provided to military families, and more than 7 million people received disaster assistance internationally.
It works together with other agencies and organizations that also provide disaster relief. As such, it is one of the most well-known humanitarian organizations in the world.
American Red Cross History
The History website recorded that the formation of the International Red Cross initially started with the vision of Jean Henri Dunant to have “volunteers who in time of war would give help to the wounded without regard for their nationality.”
The American Red Cross was founded on May 21, 1881, by Clara Barton. Before this, she nursed wounded soldiers and helped locate missing troops during the American Civil War. Witnessing the war firsthand, she lobbied the U.S. government to ratify the Geneva convention which was approved in 1882.
Since its founding, the American Red Cross has helped in disaster relief efforts which still continues today. During World War I and World War II, the American Red Cross also played a vital part in attending to and caring for wounded soldiers.
In its early beginnings, it has provided relief efforts and medical assistance during the Pennsylvania Flood of 1889 and the Galveston, Texas tidal wave disaster of 1900. The Galveston, Texas disaster was documented as one of the worst disasters in US history. The coarse flood took the lives of 6,000 people, and which the American Red Cross has timely responded.
It has also deployed around 54,577 rescue workers and volunteers during the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001.
Today, the International Red Cross, which the American Red Cross is part of, has over 13 million volunteers in 187 countries and counting.
The American Red Cross has various programs, in particular: Armed Forces Emergency Services, Disaster Services, Health and Safety Services, Blood Donation Drivers, and Volunteer Services, among others.
Red Cross Disaster Relief
The Red Cross Disaster Relief provides emergency services such as food, water, shelter, clothing, and counseling to disasters, among others. It opens shelters for people who lost their homes due to flash floods, earthquakes, and other calamities. Not only that, the American Red Cross distribute emergency supplies in the aftermath of the disaster and the weeks that follow. These emergency supplies range from food, medicines, water, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste to tools such as shovels, tarps and garbage bags.
Armed Forces Emergency Services
The Red Cross helps and supports Armed Forces soldiers, veterans and their families prepare and cope with the demands and effects of military service. They also help victims of war who are or were afflicted by hostilities, conflict, and war. It distributes health care packages among troops and also facilitates communication between the Armed Forces and their family.
Health and Safety Services
As you can see, American Red Cross jobs consist of serving those in dire need of help and doing it selflessly. It also has extended aid and relief efforts internationally partnering with the International Red Cross.
It leads blood donation drives as well as health and safety courses in many parts of the U.S. yearly.
Education and outreach program
The American Red Cross is America’s leading provider of health and safety education and outreach programs. It trains volunteers and community members in CPR, first aid, lifeguard training, and HIV/AIDS education, among others. It also has community service programs for the youth.
This organization also goes the extra mile. They send nurses, doctors, volunteers, and therapists to help victims on the site. These American Red Cross volunteers provide first aid treatment as well as emotional support and therapy to injured and traumatized victims.
Victims need not only food, water, and shelter but also psychological, mental and emotional therapy to help cope and recover. As such, the American Red Cross also deploys trained personnel that specializes in disaster counseling for the victims. Moreover, the organization also support these peopleas they get back on their feet again through referrals, transportation or occupational tools.
Blood donation drives
Plus, it also conducts blood donation drives. It is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. According to Volunteer Your Time, nearly 4 million people donate blood through the Red Cross.
Each year, approximately 4.9 million units of blood are collected by the American Red Cross from an estimated 2.8 million donors. It also oversees the collection, testing, storage and distribution of blood donations.
The U.S. Armed Forces and hospitals all over the U.S. make use of the donated blood. The blood bank has saved thousands of lives in emergencies such as accidents, surgeries, and illnesses.
How to Become an American Red Cross Volunteer
Are you thinking of taking part and getting involved in the work of the Red Cross? There is no better time than now. There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer with the American Red Cross.
Volunteers are vital in what the Red Cross does. In fact, volunteer disaster relief workers have carried out 90 percent of the relief efforts of the American Red Cross.
Interested? Then click on this link. The page will direct you to the official website of the Red Cross where you can apply as an American Red Cross volunteer. You can browse and filter volunteer opportunities in the specific community near you.
You can also choose your area of interest and find the best American Red Cross jobs for you by clicking on this link. These jobs revolve around important areas such as biomedical services; services to the Armed Forces; disaster or emergency services; health, safety and community services; and, international services. There are a wide range of positions available, as follows:
- Human resources
- Information technology
- Safety instructors
- Sales or fundraising
You can also narrow down the search for American Red Cross jobs or volunteer opportunities by local chapter or state by clicking their website link.
Red Cross donations
Moreover, you may opt to donate to the American Red Cross instead. Any Red Cross donations are money well-spent. Donations go a long way in supporting humanitarian relief efforts and helping disaster victims. You can click on this link to access the Red Cross website where you can send your donation.
Charity Navigator has published that 81.1 percent or the equivalent of $567,552,118 of the American Red Cross funds come from donations, gifts, and grants.
This year, the American Red Cross has launched the “Sound The Alarm” campaign. It is an initiative to save lives through the installation of smoke alarms in homes. Kicking off the said campaign, the American Red Cross has donated more than 1,000 new free smoke detectors to be installed within Lexington and Richmond. To make this initiative a reality, the Red Cross has mobilized more than 200 new volunteers for the said campaign alone.
American Red Cross volunteers perform various functions such as administrative work, disaster prevention or response, and medical-related services.
The volunteers deployed to disaster sites often experience hardships and extreme conditions to help those in need. The selfless acts that volunteers do in disaster zones are nothing less than heroic. They are considered “heroes” of those that they rescue, help and save. They show compassion, empathy, and care to distraught victims who desperately need it. Honoring their noble acts, the American Red Cross West Virginia was broadcasted to honor its volunteers who gave their time, knowledge, skills, and talent to help communities in time of need.
Honoring the American Red Cross Volunteers
In 1943, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the month of March as the American Red Cross Month. This proclamation is in honor of the noble and charitable acts of American Red Cross Volunteers. It also celebrates the long history of charitable acts of the Red Cross across the United States and the world.
Today, it continues to be at the forefront of relief efforts in disaster zones. It remains to be a beacon of hope for those afflicted by calamities and crisis.
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