It is not uncommon for a single mother, covered in soot, who watches her home burn from a neighbor’s yard and has nothing more to be grateful for than her children’s safety, to call a Red Cross volunteer, her “angel.” The truth is, however, the American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter has its own set of angels for which to be grateful.
Since 1981, when then Board Chairman Al Austin and his wife Beverly formed an auxiliary group focused on attracting generous and dynamic women to the mission, the Red Cross Angels have raised more than $1 million to support families in crisis. When communities are devastated by disaster, military families are separated by war or individuals are faced with life-threatening emergencies, the Red Cross Angels are looking out for our community and ensuring the local Red Cross is able to meet their needs.
What began with a few dozen influential women occasionally meeting for lunch or on the tennis court 30 years ago has blossomed into a highly-organized, highly-performing group of dedicated community fundraisers. In past years, the Red Cross Angels have hosted M.A.S.H.-themed galas, organized designer fashion shows, authored cookbooks, and recruited new members through annual Silver Coffee and High Tea events – all to benefit and expand the reach of the American Red Cross in their communities. As a group they have also played host to the annual gingerbread house-making competition in Tampa, purchased computers, and invested in the construction of a headquarters building. It is from the latter that the American Red Cross teaches lifesaving safety classes (nearly 40,000 people last year), trains and nurtures volunteers (approximately 2,000) and manages operations for a three-county area.
For more information about the Red Cross Angels, please call 1-877-741-1444 ext. 7667.