Red Cross Month

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Every March, the American Red Cross dedicates this month to acknowledging and thanking the numerous people who help save lives through their organization. The Red Cross is a charitable organization that depends solely on volunteers and everyday people who are willing to spend their time helping others. Many people assume that the only way they can help is by donating blood, but this is only one of the major ways to help through the Red Cross. For people who cannot donate blood, or simply want more than one way of giving back, there are several different options available at almost any time. Consider some of these ways we can give back to help celebrate Red Cross month:

Make a Donation 

It’s important to remember that donating blood is not the only donation that helps; monetary and non-monetary donations also make a huge difference. According to redcross.org, “an average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.” The Red Cross’s many programs and services greatly benefit from the thousands of people who donate every single day. Monetary donations can be made online, via text or mail, over the phone, through monthly donation plans and with corporate supporters.

Non-monetary donations include unused airline miles, hotel points or credit card rewards and bulk itemed goods (e.g. food, used clothing and shoes). The American Red Cross suggests buying bulk items close to the disaster site in order to help the local economy recover from the disaster.

Another way of donating to the Red Cross is by purchasing items from their online store; items such as first aid kits, Red Cross apparel, books, DVDs and even training supplies. Although the prices vary depending on the product, a portion of the money spent on each purchase funds the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross. Visit the redcross.org and click the “Shop the Red Cross Store” tab to see the many different inspirational and lifesaving products their organization has to offer.

 

91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

 

Give Blood 

If you don’t have the means of donating money or goods, there is always the go-to donation: giving blood. Platelets, plasma and double red cells are all options to donate for eligible people. Eligibility for any of these donation types can be found on the Red Cross website under the “Donating Blood” and “Eligibility Requirements” tabs. Searching for local blood drives is also available through the Red Cross website, located in the upper right hand corner of the homepage, making it fast and easy to plan a donation. Tips regarding the donation process are available on the website under the “Donation Process” tab. Some advice includes staying hydrated and maintaining healthy levels of iron in your diet before donating. Don’t forget to bring a friend when you donate.

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Take a Class 

The Red Cross’s core mission is to teach people how to handle disastrous situations like car accidents or even something as common as choking. Some of the many classes offered include First Aid, CPR, Swimming and Water Safety and Babysitting and Child Care. These classes are all reasonably priced and suitable for any level of training. In-person, blended learning and online courses are all available for people interested in taking health and safety classes, giving people the ability to select the best option that fits their daily schedules.

 

Volunteer 

Volunteers make up approximately 90 percent of the total workforce carrying out humanitarian work with the Red Cross. It’s extremely important that there are plenty of people helping out in times of need, and getting involved is made easy through the Red Cross. There is a wide variety of options for volunteering, including working at a blood drive, becoming an advocate or board member or even becoming a driver to drop off blood at your local Red Cross location. There is no such thing as too many volunteers, and, according to the Red Cross’s website, “it is through the time and care of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things.”

While March may be a month to remind people to help the American Red Cross, it’s crucial to remember that they are always looking for volunteers, donations and people to take classes. After all, accidents and disasters don’t wait to happen; being prepared is the best thing we can do.

 

Visit the Red Cross’ website at redcross.org to learn more about what you can do to help.

 

Taylor Downs is a junior professional writing major from Kalamazoo, Mich. You will almost always find her with coffee in hand or spending far too much time on her phone texting or listening to music. She loves going out to eat, indulging in TV reruns and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Tags: Cover Story, Donations, march 2016, Red Cross