Did you know that the American Red Cross provides services to New Mexico? That’s right. The American Red Cross provides various services to all four corners of the state of New Mexico, such as emergency disaster response, emergency assistance and disaster preparedness education.
Each year, the Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 calls, including single family and apartment home fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, transportation accidents, explosions and other natural and human disasters. In the last fiscal year alone, the Red Cross responded to more than 218 emergency calls, assisted 312 families and installed 428 smoke alarms in New Mexico.
Clara Barton and a circle of her acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 1881. Barton first heard of the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network while visiting Europe following the Civil War.
Returning home, she campaigned for an American Red Cross and for ratification of the Geneva Convention, protecting the war-injured, which the United States ratified in 1882.
Barton led the Red Cross for 23 years, during which time it conducted it’s first domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts, aided the United States military during the Spanish-American War, and campaigned successfully for the inclusion of peacetime relief work as part of the global Red Cross network–the so-called “American Amendment” that initially met with some resistance in Europe.
The Red Cross received its first congressional charter in 1900 and a second in 1905, the year after Barton resigned from the organization. The most recent version of the charter was adopted in May 2007 and restates the traditional purposes, including giving relief to and serving as a medium of communication between members of the American armed forces and their families and providing national and international disaster relief and mitigation. Since then, the American Red Cross has provided services in wars, disasters and other emergencies.
Today, the American Red Cross operates in all 50 states and American territories and has a volunteer population of more than 300,000 who are supported by more than 30,000 staff.
The organization is often called to provide emergency services in foreign countries. As fighting intensifies in Ukraine, the global Red Cross network is helping families impacted by the conflict.
For its part, the American Red Cross has deployed international crises responders to Poland, Moldovia, Hungary and Romainia to provide humanitarian relief in support of the International Red Cross operation helping families who fled their homes. These highly trained crises responders are supporting on-the-ground relief efforts alongside local teams including the Polish Red Cross an the Moldovan Red Cross.
People often ask how they may contribute to the American Red Cross. As you can well understand, with last year’s wildfires, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes Red Cross volunteers and staff have been pretty busy.
Many of Arizona’s Red Cross volunteers and staff have been dispatched to disaster areas in the United States missing the opportunity of spending the holidays at home with their families. However, you can help too!
The American Red Cross blood supply remains vulnerable. Individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation to help ensure patients receive the care they need. You can donate blood by scheduling an appointment at redcrossblood.org.
We are grateful to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have rolled up a sleeve to help alleviate the immediate blood crisis in early 2022. In the days and weeks ahead, it’s critically important the Red Cross maintains a readily available blood supply for hospital patients.
Monetary tax deductible contributions are also needed to help defray the costs of these disaster responses. In 2020, more than 24,000 people were assisted each day, 900,000 meals were served, and snacks were provided with our partners and 207,200 overnight shelters and hotels were also provided with the partners. The American Red Cross is a 503(c) organization. You may contribute funds by logging on to redcross.org.
Finally, if circumstances permit you may consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer to more personally serve your community. The first step to becoming a Red Cross volunteer is to apply by going to redcross.org/volunteer and begin the volunteer process.
You will be required to create a profile which takes less than five minutes and submit your volunteer application through the system. You will also be required to submit to a background check.
(Ira Feldman is a volunteer public information officer for the American Red Cross.)