March is American Red Cross month, which is a nationwide initiative aimed at raising awareness for the humanitarian programs and services provided by this organization. As such, I would like to highlight the many ways the American Red Cross makes an impact in communities across the world as well as to share ways you can get involved.
Founded in 1881, the American Red Cross began as an organization dedicated to providing first aid, water safety and public health nursing programs which are services it still offers today. However, the Red Cross grew exponentially during World War I by expanding its outreach to include military medical and disaster relief efforts and became the organization we currently know it as today. It was also during this time that the Coastal Bend Chapter of the American Red Cross received its charter. Today, the local chapter serves more than 19 counties throughout our region including Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, DeWitt, Duval, Goliad, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lavaca, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria.
According to the organization’s website, the American Red Cross offers support and resources to five key areas:
• Disaster relief: It is estimated that the American Red Cross volunteers respond to over 60,000 disasters annually. These disasters include hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, transportation accidents, and chemical spills. In the aftermath of such events, these volunteers help by collecting donations, operating shelters for displaced families, and coordinating medical and emotional support for those in need.
• Lifesaving blood: The American Red Cross realizes the need for blood donations. Through blood drives the Red Cross helps saves live all over the U.S. To learn more about donating blood and to learn the facts of blood visit the American Red Cross website.
• Health and safety education and training: The American Red Cross helps prepare individuals and communities to manage emergency situations through health and safety education and training services. Locally, the Coastal Bend Texas Chapter of the American offers Red Cross CPR and AED certification, First Aid classes, Lifeguard training, and Swimming and Water Safety instruction. More information about how to participate in one of the educational trainings offered by American Red Cross can be found online at American Red Cross Training.
• Support for members of the military and their families: Another core function of the American Red Cross is providing support for members of the military and their families. A way this is accomplished in our area is by helping service members return to their families during times of emergency. From the first day of deployment, service members and their families are eligible for Red Cross assistance. All Red Cross services are provided at home and overseas instillations, which bring comfort to thousands of families.
• International relief and development: Internationally, the American Red Cross provides humanitarian services to nearly 200 countries across the globe. These outreach efforts include disaster response, helping to reconnect families separated by crisis, and providing vaccinations for diseases such as measles and rubella. There are over 13 million volunteers worldwide.
Whether it is through volunteering time, donating blood, or offering financial support, I would like to encourage you to mark national American Red Cross month by exploring the ways you can get involved with this important organization. You can reach the local American Red Cross chapter at 361-887-9991. To learn more please visit the American Red Cross.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Aransas County and Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.