Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Things I Didn't Know About the Red Cross...

...Until I Started Volunteering Here

Before starting my year with AmeriCorps, all I knew about the Red Cross was that if I could get over my fear of needles (which I did!) then I could donate blood. And if I needed to re-certify in CPR I could do that too. What I didn't know about the Red Cross is more than just 10 bullet points. However, this is my attempt at informing a few more people about what the Red Cross does.

1. The American Red Cross can deliver messages to and from soldiers overseas. Our Services to the Armed Forces division is the reason the organization exists. Clara Barton began providing relief services to soldiers in the Civil War; passing out water, food, and providing medical assistance and protecting the injured soldiers. For more about the history of the American Red Cross, read here and to read story about a soldier who received a Red Cross message about his ill grandfather click here.

2. The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter responds to over 100 emergencies each year and provides clients with food, clothing, and shelter for three days. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers are busy all year long responding to house fires, floods, and other disasters. If your house were to burn down, or a flood were to damage your apartment, our Disaster Action Teams would come in and lend you an ear, a shoulder to cry on, and then provide you with food, clothing, and shelter if lost due to the disaster.

3. The American Red Cross provides first aid at mass gatherings. If you've been to a Red Butte Garden concert this summer, or braved the masses at the Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park then you've probably seen our Red Cross first aid station volunteers. These volunteers are trained to respond to all types of injuries and emergencies during many downtown events, including the Farmer's Market and the Pride Festival.

4. If you are over the age of 60, or on disability the Red Cross can help you pay your utility bill. The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter is able to dispense the Reach and Lend-A-Hand programs to those elderly or disabled people who are unable to pay their utility bills.

5. You can take all of the American Red Cross disaster classes for free for volunteers! If you are interested in learning more about what disaster services the Red Cross provides, or knowing what to do in the event of a large scale disaster you can take the Red Cross disaster classes free of charge. The updated course schedule is now on our website.

6. 96% of the work done by the American Red Cross is carried out by volunteers! Incredibly enough, American Red Cross volunteers are responsible for most of the work we do. Whether its important office assistance like entering our courses in a database or responding locally to emergencies, volunteers are an essential part of the Red Cross mission. To join our volunteer force, fill out the online application.

7. We have incredible youth leaders in our community. The American Red Cross in Utah just completed the first annual Leadership Development Camp aimed at getting youth involved in leadership and helping us fulfill the mission of the Red Cross.

8. Everything you need to know about being prepared, you can find at the Red Cross. For tips, checklists, and safety advice, the Red Cross is here to help. Whether its fire prevention, earthquake tips for before, during and after, or how to prevent heat stroke, the Red Cross can provide you with the necessary tools to do so.

9. The Red Cross can come speak to your school, church, company, or group about what we do and how to be prepared. If you want someone from the Red Cross to come talk to your group about being prepared for any and all types of emergencies, just call and ask, we'd be happy to come and tell you more about what we do and how we do it for no charge!

10. We are the only organization to have a congressional mandate to perform and carry out our services and not receive any line-item funding. This just means that we rely on the generous donations of our community and community partners in order to be able to do all of the things I just mentioned. If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross in Utah click here.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow! I didn't know a lot of those things either! Thanks!