Guest Author - Rev. Jackie OŽNeal S.T.M.
According to USA Today, The American Red Cross is the nations partner in preventing, preparing for and responding to emergencies. In 2007, the humanitarian organization led by almost a million volunteers, provided direct relief to victims of nearly 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills and preparedness tips to millions of Americans; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States.
The Red Cross website notes:"Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same." The Charter is not only a grant of power, but also an imposition of duties and obligations to the nation, to disaster victims, and to the people who generously support its work with their donations."
The Red Cross works to meet immediate needs caused by natural and other types of disasters. Shelter, food, and health and mental health services that help to address human needs are the basic services offered when disaster strikes any region.
The assistance and attention given to individual families impacted by disaster, enables them to resume their normal daily activities on their own.
According to their website,The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.
The Red Cross also offers products that are of help during a disaster, or emergency. After 9/11 happended, my husband and I purchased a preparedness pack which included supplies to have on hand at home, or in the car in the event of a disaster. Most Red Cross centers have a store where such products can be purchased immediately.