It’s Red Cross Month and we would like to recognize our Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
These everyday heroes are our volunteers who help disaster victims get on the road to recovery. They give blood to help someone in the hospital. They brighten the day of an injured service member in a hospital far from home. They take our classes and step forward to help someone having a heart attack or to save a drowning child.
March is also a great time to become part of the Red Cross. It’s easy. Household members can work together on a preparedness plan. People can sign up to take a class or volunteer their time. They can give blood or make a financial donation.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
In 2013, Red Cross offices across Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties responded to 462 emergencies, served over 3,600 military cases and trained over 53,000 people in lifesaving skills. And, people from across this area donated more than 70,000 units of blood.
Red Cross Month is observed in dedication of everyone who supports our mission. We are grateful to people for their generosity which enables us to continue our work, and encourage everyone to become an Everyday Hero during Red Cross Month by helping their neighbors.
Earlier this month, the parking area of the American Red Cross offices in Santa Ana briefly became a holiday festival for families in need. Approximately 1,000 guests received toys, holiday stockings and books along with Red Cross disaster kits. Nearly 400 youth from 40 Red Cross Clubs throughout the region collected close to 1,200 toys. They also created and managed more than 40 activity booths.
Children and parents alike gained valuable information from exhibits such as the Red Cross Preparedness Puppet Show, Edison and Electrical Safety, bike safety, Quake Cottage, disaster preparedness and earthquake drills, compression CPR training and a disaster kit scavenger hunt. They also enjoyed time with the local Orange County Fire Authority firefighters, refreshments from Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteers and holiday carols by Red Cross Emergency Services members.
Youth from the Red Cross Clubs were supported by staff and volunteers from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties along with AmeriCorps members. Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides also helped distribute children’s books with the team from Think Together. Red Cross partners who contributed to the success of this annual event included Circle K, Disneyland, Edison International, Emulex, National Charity League, Orange County Fire Authority, Pacific Life, Printronix, Think Together and Westbound Communications.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the innovative fund-raiser, Team Kids LemonAID Restore America, is mobilizing boys and girls across the country to raise support for American Red Cross disaster relief operations. With homemade lemonade stands and an unbridled enthusiasm to help those in need, the children have an opportunity to exercise generosity through their own entrepreneurial endeavors. From now until December 31, 2012, 100 percent of the proceeds from this youth-driven effort will be donated to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.
“Through Team Kids LemonAID, we allow children to become a part of the solution,” said Julie Hudash, Founder and CEO of Team Kids headquartered in Irvine, Calif. “We provide the tools for a child to experience the joy of philanthropy and demonstrate their sincere passion to help others.”
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Team Kids launched LemonAID with the help from the Orange County Fire Authority, Irvine Police Department and Irvine Unified School District. Inspired and challenged to help the victims of Katrina, 1,200 children in Irvine hosted 224 independent lemonade stands, which together raised almost $12,000 in two days. Since then, children with their tiny lemonade stands have raised more than $90,000 in support for American Red Cross relief operations helping the victims of California wildfires and earthquakes in both Haiti and Japan.
“I enjoy motivating children to make a difference as contributing members of the community,” said Jamie “Doc” Havig, Program Director of Team Kids and former Special Ops Marine Corps Medic. “When taking ownership of their own lemonade stand, they experience the personal fulfillment that comes from helping people during a major disaster.”
Staff and Guests Extend Compassion
Moved by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the staff of The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel located in Huntington Beach, organized a small fundraiser for visitors, guests, vendors and employees to show their support American Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
“As an organization, we made it easy for our associates and guests to help people suffering in the aftermath of the disaster,” said JD Shafer, General Manager of The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel. “Everyone came together as a community for this simple fundraiser and shared in the desire to give and make a difference.”
The Waterfront Beach Resort has a history of supporting the American Red Cross from raising funds to help earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan to locally participating in annual blood drives. Seeing the destructive forces of Superstorm Sandy in the news, the management knew immediately the American Red Cross would effectively represent their heart to help alleviate the suffering.
“Being on the coast, we understand that a similar disaster could happen to us and wanted to extend compassion to our friends back east,” said Shafer. “The employees feel good from doing their small part in contributing to the relief efforts and providing our guests an easy and fun way to help people in need.”