Every year since 1943, the President of the United States has proclaimed March as "Red Cross Month." The American Red Cross uses this opportunity to promote its services to the American public for raising funds. Back in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the following appeal: "I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross." Here is how our current president describes our work:
"The American Red Cross is best known for its work helping communities deal with major disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires. Just as important are the tens of thousands of small-scale disasters that occur every day in communities nationwide, and the volunteers who respond to them. These efforts include supporting our military, and their families, collecting and distributing blood, helping the needy, delivering health and safety education, and providing aid abroad".
President Barack Obama
On Christmas Day 2010, the Red Cross Disaster Action Team responded to an apartment fire in Celoron. House fire disaster relief has doubled this year across Southwestern New York.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST - ADAPTING FOR TOMORROW
As with many large organizations, we have had the visibility and scrutiny that comes with the nature of our work. The visibility comes from our rich history and our brand, which is universally known and has become a symbol of trust and high expectations across the world. When disasters and emergencies strike, the American people offer their time, blood, and money to the Red Cross in significant numbers. We honor the intent of every Red Cross donor to ensure that we are the best stewards of the hard earned funds entrusted to us.
People often question the administrative cost associated with Red Cross operations. The truth is that 91 cents of every dollar donated goes back to help those in need through Red Cross programs and services. The integration of technology, shared services and restructuring initiatives continue to reduce administrative overhead to ensure maximum "bang for the buck." The Southwestern New York Chapter completed a restructuring initiative on July 1, 2009, which has strengthened our capacity in programs and services across the tri-county area of Southwestern New York while reducing our overhead administrative costs. The American Red Cross is fully engaged in new and innovative shared services solutions to reduce administrative overhead while strengthening our service delivery capacity, programs and services.
SERVICES: JOB No. 1
We never charge a disaster client for the help and financial assistance that we provide them in order to meet their immediate emergency needs. Current and future partnerships in disaster relief enable the Red Cross to leverage our donor dollars to reach out through other agencies to ensure that we connect and meet the needs of our disaster clients in the most effective means possible.
A lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina is for the Red Cross to partner with other organizations that are already established in our local communities. For example, during the major flooding in Gowanda and Silver Creek, the SWNY Chapter partnered with the Salvation Army, local fire department auxiliaries, and Department of Social Services and Health Department agencies. This partnership ensured a comprehensive approach enabling the most efficient expenditure of disaster relief funds for the 267 affected clients that received Red Cross assistance.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAMS SAVE LIVES
During these difficult economic times we are constantly reminded of funding cuts, job losses, and that things may get worse before they get better. Now and in the future, we are committed to offer the best pricing and new, innovative methods of service delivery to save our customers money and time. Here in the Southwestern New York area, we have reduced our pricing for our full-service customers, provided discounts for those companies that support our blood drives, and offer our area fire departments and not-for-profit organizations special rates. Our online training option is first class and a fun way to complete your CPR and First Aid training without spending four hours in a classroom at night. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, all of our CPR and first aid certifications are now valid for two years.
GIVING THE GIFT OF LIFE: RECOVERY 2011
The Red Cross Blood Services program has undergone numerous significant cost cutting initiatives in manufacturing and Biomedical Services which has significantly reduced costs for our hospitals and trauma centers. Here in this region, local chapter volunteers and staff work hand-in-hand to recruit, support and serve more than 7,000 Red Cross blood donors. More than 200 blood donors are members of the Century Club donating more than 100 units of blood. Seventeen donors are Second Century Club members reaching 200 units. This past fall, we celebrated our first 300-unit blood donor by naming the Jamestown Blood Donation Center after Robert Fralick of Jamestown.
Throughout this storm-filled winter, it is estimated that the American Red Cross has lost 28,000 units of potential blood donations through canceled blood drives. As the largest blood bank in the nation, we support more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and more than 125 hospitals in New York and Pennsylvania. Blood drives are continually occurring throughout the community at schools, businesses and churches; a full list of blood drives is available at www.redcross-acc.org. Each time blood is donated, it has the potential to save three lives; with someone needing a blood transfusion every two seconds, you definitely have a good reason to give the gift of life. Help us recover our blood supply to healthy levels.
SUPPORTING THE TROOPS
Support to our military families is unique to the Red Cross since our early beginnings. We provide emergency communications between our families here at home and their military families serving around the world. Here in the Southwestern New York area, we have a dedicated staff and team of volunteers who work around the clock to ensure proper verifications and emergency communications are accomplished in the quickest way possible. Time is often critical to ensure military commanders receive proper verifications to authorize emergency leave for a family emergency. Today and in the future, the use of technology has reduced the time between initial notification and military travel arrangements.
DOWN THE STREET, AROUND THE CORNER, ACROSS THE WORLD: YOUR RED CROSS IS THERE FOR YOU
Your Red Cross is there for you!
Whether it is a house fire in Scio; a major flood in Gowanda, Silver Creek, or Portville; or an earthquake in Haiti, the American Red Cross is on the job, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
But it requires your help to keep us strong. March is the time where we invite you to join us by supporting the many special events in support of your American Red Cross.
The Southwestern New York Chapter is holding several local events throughout the next couple of months. Savor the Flavor events are a wonderful chance to try delicious food and beverages from local vendors in each county of Southwestern New York. From 12 to 3 p.m. March 6, the Taste of Allegany Savor the Flavor Event will be held at the VFW in Cuba. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Allegany district office at 585-593-1531.
In Jamestown, the Taste of Chautauqua Savor the Flavor event will be held March 13, at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena from 12 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling our Jamestown office at 664-5115 or Dunkirk at 366-4433. The Taste of Cattaraugus Savor the Flavor will be held at the Allegany Community Center on March 20, from 12 to 3p.m., and $25 tickets can be purchased by calling our Olean office at 372-5800.
In Chautauqua County, NRG Dunkirk Power and the American Red Cross of SWNY invite you to nominate your Hometown Hero in one of seven categories: law enforcement, firefighter, workplace safety, emergency personnel/medical, youth, humanitarian or pet rescue. The awards ceremony breakfast will be at the Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown on Friday, May 20. Nomination forms are available at www.redcross-acc.org and are being accepted until April 1.
The American Red Cross will be holding its fifth Ride for the Red bike tour on Saturday, June 18. The event will start at the State University at Fredonia and pre-registration is $17, with participants raising more than $30 receiving a free T-shirt. Participants can choose to ride the 10-, 25-, or 50-mile loop along scenic Routes 5 and 20.
New this year is the 5K Down on the Farm Run/Walk in Farmersville, N.Y., on May 29, and the Tri Dunkirk Triathlon on Aug. 27, featuring events for the beginner, intermediate and advanced skill sets. We are expecting to need at least 100 volunteers for this event. For more information on all of these events, visit www.redcross-acc.org.
JOIN UP THIS MARCH
So from then until now and on into the future, your American Red Cross will be doing what we do best - helping people in our local communities prepare for, prevent and respond to disasters and emergencies. But in order to succeed, grassroots support from our local citizens, organizations, businesses and faith-based institutions is the key to us accomplishing our humanitarian mission.
This March, take the time to help your community. Attend a local American Red Cross fundraiser, volunteer or give blood. We cannot predict the catastrophic events in our lives, but we can help ourselves, and our neighbors, be more prepared for them. Do what so many have done in our rich 125-year history: join up and serve with us to meet the call of neighbors helping neighbors. Be a Red Crosser - you will get back more than you give!
Visit our web site at www.redcross-acc.org for all the details on chapter programs and services in your community.
The American Red Cross is a United Way agency.