March Marks National American Red Cross Month
American Red Cross month, which is a nationwide initiative aimed at raising awareness for the humanitarian programs and services provided by this worthwhile organization. As such, I would like to highlight many ways the American Red Cross makes an impact in communities across the country as well as to share the 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 – services it still offers today. It was during the First World War, however, that the Red Cross grew exponentially by expanding its outreach to include military medical and disaster relief efforts and became the organization we now know it as today. It was also during this time period that the Coastal Bend Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross received its charter. Today, the local chapter serves more than 18 counties throughout our region.
According 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 70,000 disasters annually. These disasters include hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, transportation accidents, and chemical spills. In the aftermath of such events, these volunteers help in such ways as collecting donations, operating shelters for displaced families, and coordinating medical and emotional support for those in need.
• Blood collection, processing and distribution: One of the most important ways the American Red Cross gives back to communities is through its life-saving blood donation program. The American Red Cross hosts over 200,000 blood drives across the country each year and supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. You can learn more about the blood donation process as well as how to locate a blood donation center online by visiting American Red Cross blood donation.
• 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 take-a-class.
• 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 key way this is accomplished in our area is by helping service members return to their families during times of emergency.
• International relief and development: Internationally, the American Red Cross provides humanitarian services to 180 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.
Whether it is through donating blood, volunteering time 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. 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. As always, 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 Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 512-463-0672.