Yelm Mayor Joe DePinto recognized March as American Red Cross month and honored the organization through a mayoral proclamation at the Yelm City Council meeting on March 14.
The American Red Cross, which was founded in 1881, has organized countless blood drives, provided disaster relief and has offered monetary donations to those in need.
“Caring for one another is at the heart of our community and exemplified by the people of Yelm, whose simple acts of kindness through the Red Cross provide help and hope in people’s most difficult moments, continuing the lifesaving legacy of Clara Barton, who founded the organization more than 140 years ago to prevent and alleviate human suffering,” DePinto said while reading the proclamation.
The volunteers with the American Red Cross lend a helping hand to make a difference for their neighbors in need, DePinto said, by providing emergency shelter, food and comfort to families who have been displaced by house fires or other disasters. The organization also donates blood to cancer patients, victims of accidents, and people with sickle cell disease and other life-threatening conditions, the mayor said.
“Their support, volunteerism and generous donations are critical to our community’s resilience,” DePinto said. “We hereby recognize this month of March in honor of all those who fulfill Clara Barton’s noble words, ‘You must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it,’ and ask everyone to join in this commitment.”
DePinto said the organization also supports military members and veterans, along with their families and caregivers, who face the “unique challenges” of serving. The Red Cross teaches first aid and CPR to others and works to deliver international humanitarian aid, all while working to reconnect people who were separated by crises around the globe.
Larry Bleich, a volunteer and an elected official liaison for the American Red Cross, spoke about the impact the organization has on those in need.
“I’m sure I don’t have to introduce the Red Cross to any of you. It’s one of the most recognized programs universally, but you probably didn’t realize most of the work is done right here in our communities,” Bleich said. “I’d say anywhere from three to six times per night, there are disaster action teams out in communities doing the same type of humanitarian care we do on a national basis for hurricanes and everything else.”
Bleich said the most common type of care or relief they organization provides is to those impacted by flooding or house fires. He added the Red Cross responds to an emergency in the country every eight minutes.
There’s also a need every two seconds for blood, according to Bleich. He said the organization needs to collect 38,000 donations on a daily basis to meet that need and noted the American Red Cross provides 40% of blood donations across the nation.
For every dollar donated to the American Red Cross, 90 cents goes back toward humanitarian care, Bleich said.
The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers of different skills and talents, Bleich said.
The American Red Cross will host its “Sound the Alarm’’ event in late April. The nationwide event will feature the installation of smoke detectors around the community for fire prevention in homes.
There are multiple ways to support the American Red Cross. People can donate online at www.redcross.org, where they can also find out the location of scheduled blood drives.
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