Thursday, December 30, 2010

365 Days: One American Red Cross Chapter

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. She's back to show her gratitude for her fellow Red Cross volunteers. 

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and now it is time to reflect on what a caring community can accomplish together in just one year.  Just over twelve hundred kind individuals made the choice to pledge their time toward helping their fellow man in need.  Together our American Red Cross Utah chapter volunteers and 33 staffers have indeed touched the lives of people during unexpected life altering events.  Thanks to your dedication these devastating and tender moments that individuals in our communities are confronted with are thankfully, not spent alone. In 2010, our Utah chapter responded to 139 disasters from fires to floods. 

Beyond responding to emergency situations, volunteers like you have given the gift of knowledge by teaching others various American Red Cross courses.  In one year an outstanding 34,092 men and women were trained in disaster preparedness.  Even more Utahans (42,307) completed first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training. Thousands upon thousands also took advantage your expert instruction in swimming and babysitting courses. 

We also thank you for all your donations throughout this year because your contributions have helped maintain and sustain critical American Red Cross programs and services. 

When you reflect on your personal accomplishments as you ring in the New Year don't forget to celebrate the warmth of our considerate and compassionate volunteers who make an impact in their community.

Monday, December 27, 2010

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

...Until I Started Volunteering Here

A while ago, in my Red Cross naïveté I posted 10 things I didn’t know about the Red Cross until I started volunteering here. Well it’s been almost a year now and I certainly have learned a plethora of things about the Red Cross and all of the services we provide. So I came up with 10 MORE things I didn’t know about the Red Cross. It was hard to narrow down the list, as it certainly could have been 20! Please read, enjoy, learn, and share with your friends and family!

1. Everyday Heroes in the community are honored annually by the American Red Cross. Do you know someone who has saved a life, or done something make the community a better and safer place to live? The Red Cross awards Heroes at annual events across the state. Submit your nominations here by December 31st! And check out our previous award recipients online.

2. The American Red Cross can unite family members separated due to war, armed conflict, and disasters. As part of the International Family Tracing Services, and thanks to the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the Red Cross can help unite local individuals with their family members.

Tracing cases occur when:

• Families have been separated as a result of either armed conflict or disaster.

• As much as possible, families should have tried normal channels of communication before requesting Red Cross tracing services.

• The family member making the inquiry provides essential information on the sought person.

• The family member making the inquiry is a close family relative, who has been in direct contact with the sought person before the conflict or disaster occurred.

Recently the Salt Lake Chapter has helped in one of these tracing cases. We were able to unite a refugee from Africa with his family members here in Utah.

3. The American Red Cross provides the curriculum for swim instructors. Taken a swim class? Then chances are that you were taught by a Red Cross certified instructor.

4. Heidi Klum and The Rock support the Red Cross. There are over 40 celebrities on the National Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. These celebrities including tween heartthrobs Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato donate their time, skills, and energy to help promote Red Cross initiatives and response efforts. Here’s a full list of this year’s Red Cross celebrity cabinet members.

5. You can take Pet First Aid and CPR! The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter offers a pet first aid and CPR class. Make sure you know what to do if Fido stops breathing or Ted breaks a paw. Sign up for a class today.

6. The American Red Cross teaches life-saving skills to young Babysitters! Know someone between the ages of 11 and 14? If so, sign them up to become a Red Cross certified Babysitter. Young leaders are taught CPR and First Aid among other skills so they can be responsible babysitters. If you are interested in learning more about Red Cross courses check out

7. The Red Cross in Utah has chapter offices in Provo, Ogden, St. George and Cache County! The Red Cross operates across Utah with offices in Provo, Ogden, St. George and Cache County. No matter where you live, the Red Cross is here to help when you need! For information about the Red Cross in your area check out

8. The American Red Cross follows 7 Fundamental Principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality. No matter who you are, what your background may be the American Red Cross can and will help you.

9. The American Red Cross in Utah responded to 139 disasters this year; But we don’t self deploy. If the fire department, police department, or individuals call for Red Cross help our Disaster trained volunteers are on the scene and can provide food, clothing, shelter and a listening ear.

10. We are the only organization to have a congressional mandate to perform and carry out our services and not receive any federal line-item funding. I know this was my last number 10, but I think it is incredible, so incredible I wanted to put it on this list too. The Red Cross relies 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 or would like to volunteer your time and talents, click here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Giving And Gifting Made Easy

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. She's back to help you fill all your gift giving needs. 

Are you scrambling to complete your holiday shopping in the next 48 hours?  Want to avoid the crowded malls and inflated online shipping fees today and tomorrow?  Not to worry, because the American Red Cross has you covered in a few ways. 

Option A
Ease your stress level and give the gift of kindness by donating basic survival and educational items from our 2010 Holiday Giving Catalog.  Here is how it works, you choose to buy a gift like the blanket set ($18 for 3 blankets).  Proceed through the quick online check out process and your purchase is done in no time.  Now you can print a copy of your order immediately from the site or from your email.  Finally, write a little note in a holiday card (to your special someone) saying you just donated 3 blankets on their behalf.  Congratulations!  You've just accomplished a great deed by giving a gift to your loved one as well as giving a gift to a deserving family.

I personally love this option because most of my family lives out of state.  The American Red Cross 2010 Holiday Giving Catalog is a great seasonal giving option, because I'm avoiding shipping costs, and extra baggage fees at the airport.  Plus, I really feel great knowing that my donation is going to help another person when they really need it. Another added bonus, not that you need another reason, but in case you were wondering, your gifts are tax-deductible. 

Option B 
Are you still losing sleep on what gift you are going to get your relative that happens to have everything?  Or, do you still need a hostess gift for an upcoming party?  The second option the American Red Cross is offering can be found in their online Red Cross Store.  Right now you can snag 10% off the top ten favorite survival gear items.  You can never be too prepared and either can your relative who has everything.  Just purchase and print out a copy of your order to put in any holiday card.  There is also a holiday gift shop where you can buy presents for everyone including babies, adults and pets.  You'll find emergency preparedness supplies, first aid kits, educational materials (books and videos), clothing and other accessories that are great for any household.  You will also find easy to shop categories by price, recipient or purpose. 

Bonus Buys
So, really if you are not a last minute holiday shopper this is for you.  Really this BONUS BUY is for everyone who loves a great deal!  Currently, there are four discounted deals that will save you 20% off beach towels, fall apparel, and the popular 100 Year Anniversary First Aid Kit.  You can also get 50% off holiday cards.  When you shop the Red Cross Store, you support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross. 

I'm wishing you a Happy and Safe Holiday. And, please don't forget to pamper yourself now that you have taken care of everyone else. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proud to Be a Part of the Red Cross

In the past year that I have been working with the American Red Cross in Salt Lake I have seen amazing things happen. I have witnessed inspiring people drop everything they were doing to to respond when a fire destroyed a family's home. I have seen volunteers like Evelyn Halstead from Utah travel across the country to help in National Disasters. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most extraordinary volunteers. And I have been witness to the comfort given after an individual's livlihood is destroyed by flames or flood.

As an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Red Cross I have preached preparedness on this blog and to the community with disaster presentations and fun facts to keep my friends and fellow Utahns prepared. I have learned so much about the Red Cross and all of the programs the organization can offer.

All of this is why giving to the Red Cross this holiday season with the Holiday Giving Campaign comes so easy. I urge all of you to make the choice to give gifts this season that save the day! A donation to the American Red Cross means blankets to families who may lose their home this winter due to a disaster, calling cards to soldiers overseas or water supplies to those affected by International Disasters.

Make your holiday dollars count with a donation to the incredible work of the Red Cross!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Heartfelt Partnership

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. This is just one of many things she's learned about the American Red Cross. 

Last month, I decided I would make a change in my life and try to give more to my community.  This thought led me to volunteering my time at the local American Red Cross chapter. I quickly found out the American Red Cross is more than a disaster relief service. In fact, they are much more!  

I now know the American Red Cross supports military members, and their families.  There is a program called Coping with Deployments, which helps put the focus on military families after their loved one is called to service. Here are a few quick facts about the program:

  • Military families who reach out to the Red Cross can receive free information and resources to help cope with deployments. 
  • Coping with Deployments trains mental health professionals. After certification professionals help assist military families with coping mechanisms when life becomes too stressful.  
  • Families can also get help with emergency communication.  
  • The program also assists veterans with referrals.

To find out more about the partnership between the military and the Red Cross click here. 

Check out Coping with Deployments frequently asked questions. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is your company looking for a way to give back?!

Trina Polta is a guest blogger for the American Red Cross in Utah. Here is her story of giving back.

I used to work for a Fortune 500 company. This was my first large corporate experience which in the end reminded of many things I had forgotten, including the importance of giving back to my community. The company was and is well versed in connecting their employees to volunteer opportunities. Working for a company that valued community service helped me realize, I can make a difference. Yes, little old me, who is not wealthy. We all bring something to the table, and during my two plus years working there, I started donating can foods. My helping hand quickly evolved to organizing site events like blood drives and giving trees.

Maybe, you have never thought of approaching your company to see if they have some corporate dollars set aside for each business quarter or business year?

Asking could make the difference in many ways:

Help Others: You help those in need by helping your company donate

Help Expand Your Work Goals: You could fulfill a work goal by getting your company involved in community service

Help Your Team Morale: You could organize a team builder exercise and volunteer your lunch hour once a month to help your local American Red Cross Chapter

Help Expand Your Knowledge: You could organize a team builder exercise to become CPR certified

Help Create A Sense Of Community: You could partner with surrounding businesses and start a blood drive in your business park

Learn how you and your company can partner with the American Red Cross by calling (801) 323-7015 or emailing

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

Oprah has her favorite things; cars, sweaters, watches, diamonds, and lots of food! I wanted to take a minute to list a few of my favorite things, or Red Cross favorites at least...

Blankets: Purchase 3 of them for $18 and help keep disaster victims warm this winter when a fire or flood forces them outside in the cold.

Calling cards: Purchase 3 of them for $60 and soldiers over seas can talk to their loved ones to make their service time more bearable.

Shelter: $50 buys one full day of emergency shelter for a disaster victim including a cot, three meals, two blankets, personal supplies and the emotional support from Red Cross volunteers 

Food: $100 provides hot meals for ten disaster victims who need the energy to last another day without the comforts of their own home.

Water: For $50 you can buy water containers for 10 families affected by natural disasters abroad to collect and store clean water.

Safety Tube: For just $9.95 you can give your friends and family members the gift of safety with the persoanl safety tube. It comes with a poncho, emergency blanket, a mini first aid kit and many other items.

72-hour kit: Purchase a 72-hour Kit for yourself or your loved ones for just $49.95 in case of an emergency. They will thank you later!

Monday, December 6, 2010

You Don't Have to be a Superhero to Save a Life

Every year the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross honors ordinary people in the community who do extraordinary things. Ordinary people like Brady Johnson, an army medic who was on his way up American Fork Canyon to picnic with his family when he witnessed a horrible bicycle crash. Without hesitating he jumped out of the car to help and along with other responders on the scene saved the life of the injured cyclist. Read his story here.

Last year the Salt Lake event honored eleven heroes, including a group of teens who witnessed their friend have a seizure in the pool and immediately sprang into action to help rescue her. You can read all of their powerful stories on our website.

This year the Red Cross is looking for nominations from the community for 2011 Hero events across the state in Salt Lake, Provo, Ogden, St. George and Logan.

If you know someone who saved a life or worked to make the community a better and safer place to live, fill out a nomination form online or send your nomination to The deadline is December 31st so get your nominations in soon!!