American Red Cross Needs Help!

My sister lives in NYC and has been a volunteer with the NY Red Cross since shortly after moving there. She does all kinds of exciting things, like being on scene at various emergencies to provide food and other aid to people affected. Although we all know that the Red Cross goes in to major disaster areas, to help victims of floods, hurricanes, etc., what many people don’t know is that each local Red Cross chapter works to help the people in their community. For example, my sister’s chapter alone responds to more than 3,000 emergencies a year – about eight a day – in the form of fires, floods, building collapses, blackouts, etc. For more than 100,000 people a year her chapter volunteers provide the immediate aid needed in terms of food and shelter.

Sometimes, the Red Cross gets a lot of publicity for their work in helping people, and donations of both blood and money go up. At other times, other concerns are given more media coverage, and the important work the Red Cross does goes un-noticed, or at least un-reported. She recently sent me an email with an appeal–the first time she’s ever asked family to help, so it must be a very great need!–for donations in support of the work the Red Cross does. Please read her note below, and consider donating. As times get harder and money gets tighter for those of us blessed with good fortune, imagine how much more difficult it is right now for all the organizations working to provide food and shelter to the survivors of disasters both big and small.

I am a volunteer of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and am writing to enlist your help.

Over the course of the past month, we have witnessed two of the largest hurricane-related evacuations ever mounted in this country. These resulted from Gustav and Ike that devastated major parts of the gulf coast in Louisiana and Texas . To date, 16,000 American Red Cross volunteers and staff have opened over 900 evacuation centers/shelters, served 4.5 million meals and snacks in the affected areas and we expect this to be a lengthy recovery operation.

Our Chapter has already deployed 117 volunteers and staff, including a 46 member Rapid Response Team. Our team, led by Scott Graham, Chief Response Officer and including our CEO, Terry Bischoff, managed a mega-shelter for 3,000 evacuees in Alexandria , Louisiana . Hurricane Gustav passed within 20 miles of this evacuation center and our team worked with the evacuees to make sure everyone was sheltered, fed, and comforted, and returned home safely after the storm had passed.

Although the Red Cross has responded well to these disasters, the reality is that we have not had the media coverage of people on rooftops or huge numbers of deaths and injuries that motivate people to donate, and so the outpouring of spontaneous financial gifts that we saw during the tsunami, hurricane Katrina and the recent Chinese earthquake, has not occurred. As a result, we have been forced to borrow the money to do this vital, life-saving work.

That’s why I am echoing the appeal made by the CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, in asking for your help now as we participate in a national campaign to raise $100 million for the Disaster Relief Fund. Together, we can ensure the Red Cross is there to help, whenever and wherever disasters strike.

Here is how you can help: First – send this note on to as many of your friends and colleagues as you can. We need to use this new era of social networking to get this word out as I don’t believe the American public knows that we need their help. Second – go to our website – and make a tax-deductible donation to the Disaster Relief Fund . No amount is too small – if we all give $5 or $10, it will mount up quickly.


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