The American Red Cross responds to an estimated 70,000 disasters in the United States every year – both big and small. The organization also provides 24-hour support to the military, veterans and their families in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around world. (1) They also collect and distribute nearly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, as well as train millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills. (1)
So, in recognition of Red Cross Month, let’s chat and chew about the history of Red Cross and CRBG’s efforts to help its cause.
Clara Barton and associates founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881. After hearing about the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network during a trip to Europe, Barton returned home with a new agenda.
Barton led the Red Cross for 23 years, during which the first domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts took place. It also aided the United States military during the Spanish-American War.
The First World War
Before World War I, the Red Cross initiated its first aid, water safety and public health nursing programs. (2) Due to the war, the organization underwent a large growth. From 1914 to 1918, the number of local chapters expanded from 107 to 3,864; membership grew from 17,000 to 20 million adult members and 11 million Junior Red Cross members. (2) Between money and materials, the Red Cross reached $400 million in donations, which supported American and Allied Forces, as well as civilian refugees. During this time, the organization staffed hospitals and ambulance companies, as well as recruited 20,000 registered nurses to help serve the military. (2)
During the war’s aftermath, the Red Cross switched its focus to serving veterans, as well as enhanced programs in safety trainings, accident prevention, home care for the sick and nutrition education.
The Second World War
During World War II, the Red Cross was once again asked to provide services to the U.S. military, Allies and civilian war victims.
Per the military’s request, the national blood program was initiated, which collected 13.3 million pints of blood to be used by the armed forces. To put that into perspective, one pint of blood can save up to three lives!
Today, the Red Cross consists of everyday heroes who reach out to people in need. While not limited to the following, their efforts include:
- Helping disaster victims on the road to recovery
- Giving blood to help hospital patients
- Visiting injured service members who are hospitalized far from home
- Taking lifesaving classes to assist someone experiencing a heart attack
- Training to help save someone from drowning
CRBG AND THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
Here at Compass Rose, we understand the importance of giving back and helping those in need. Since 2011, CRBG has teamed up with the Red Cross to host blood drives. Thanks to the generosity of our participants, we have successfully collected over 65 pints of blood—we have helped saved over 195 lives!
The American Red Cross’ volunteers demonstrate a great deal of selflessness at all levels. We encourage you to help in any way you can too! To learn more about how you can give the gift of life by donating blood, or to make a financial donation to the Red Cross, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767.
Stay up to date with CRBG’s outreach efforts, such as when our next blood drive will take place, by following us on Facebook!