As Red Cross Month kicks off on the heels of record-breaking natural disasters and a global pandemic, we ask local residents to join our lifesaving mission.
One year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the American Red Cross with its dedicated team of volunteers continue to step up to address the deep and diverse needs of individuals and families reeling from the coronavirus and disasters large and small. In addition to daily disaster relief, regular blood drives, and safety and preparedness programs, the Red Cross has expanded its endeavors to address the emotional needs of families coping with loss as a result of COVID-19.
“The past year has been overwhelming for many in our community, and yet through it all, people are caring for one another,” said Kevin Coffey, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. “When help can’t wait, we provide families with the support they need during emergencies. During Red Cross Month in March, we honor this humanitarian spirit and ask you to join us by donating, giving blood, volunteering or taking a class to learn lifesaving skills.”
In Eastern New York and across the country, trained Red Cross disaster mental health and spiritual care volunteers have had more than 53,000 conversations to provide emotional support to people in 2020 — which had the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters in a single year. In our region alone, the Red Cross responded to nearly 600 local disasters providing relief to more than 2,300 people affected by fires, floods, and other emergencies. Many of our volunteers deployed across the country to respond to wildfires, floods, and hurricanes.
In addition, trained volunteers have provided free crisis counseling through the Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center for grieving families during COVID-19. “These families are dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, while facing logistical challenges caused by this public health emergency,” said Tara Hughes, Northeast Division Disaster Mental Health Advisor, who is leading the Virtual Family Assistance Center program. “We’re really helping them figure out what their needs are and then looking to do all we can to navigate those processes and then get them to where they need to be. The volunteers we have are amazing people and they have been stepping up to the plate to do this.” To learn more or request support, visit redcross.org/vfac or call 833-492-0094.
WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH?
For nearly 80 years, U.S. presidents have proclaimed March as Red Cross Month to recognize people giving back through its lifesaving mission — which is powered by more than 90 percent volunteers. The Red Cross is proud that an average of 90 cents of every dollar we spend is invested in delivering care and comfort to those in need.
HOW TO HELP You can help ensure that families don’t face emergencies alone — especially during a pandemic:
- DONATE: Support our Disaster Relief efforts at redcross.org/GivingDay. A gift of any size makes a difference to provide shelter, food, relief items, emotional support and other assistance. Your donation will be part of our annual Giving Day on March 24 to aid families in need across the country.
- VOLUNTEER: Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday for most-needed positions and local opportunities.
- GIVE BLOOD: If you’re healthy and feeling well, make an appointment at redcrossblood.org. Your donation can make a lifesaving difference for a patient in need. As a thank you, those who come to give blood, platelets or platelets or plasma on March 15-26 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
For more information on supporting the American Red Cross, go to our website: redcross.org.