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Help the Red Cross Be Ready for Disaster


It’s a sobering fact, but disaster strikes every day in the United States. Not just once, either—the American Red Cross responds to about 200 disasters every day, amounting to some 70,000 in a year.

This number encompasses house fires, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes and other crises, and in order to meet the needs of everyone affected, the Red Cross spends about $450 million in an average year on disaster relief throughout the U.S.

So far this year, the Red Cross has responded to more than 30 significant disasters in the U.S. These have included floods in Tennessee, North Dakota, the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, tornadoes in the South and Midwest, and major fires in communities across the country.

There is no other non-governmental organization that can respond to disasters on the size and scale of the Red Cross—but we depend on people and businesses in this country to be ready.

By donating to the Red Cross, you can help those in need. Here are some examples of how disaster relief donations are spent:

$10: Provides one “comfort kit” and blanket to a disaster client. The kit contains deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, facial tissues, wash cloth, shampoo, liquid soap, lotion, comb, razor and shaving cream. $25: Provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to a shelter resident. $50: Provides food and shelter to a person for one day. This service includes preparation of breakfast, lunch and dinner, the costs to mobilize and distribute a cot, two blankets and a comfort kit as well as the costs of Red Cross workers to provide this service. $150: Provides supplies to support the needs of an infant in a shelter. This includes diapers, wipes, soy formula, a crib and changing pads. When possible, arrangements are made to house families with infants in a separate section of a shelter to ensure safety and privacy for families. $575: Covers the cost to deploy one emergency response vehicle (ERV) and two Red Cross workers to a disaster operation for one day. These vehicles travel throughout affected areas providing warm food and cold drinks, as well as needed supplies like clean-up and comfort kits. This daily cost includes the cost of fuel and maintenance. $1,500: Covers the cost to provide a family of four all of the Red Cross emergency services, including feeding, sheltering, bulk distribution and client casework. This includes five nights in a shelter with meals for four people, one bulk package, and casework for one family. The bulk package includes a cooler; flashlight; batteries; hand sanitizer; insect repellant; sunscreen; a clean-up kit with a sectional handle with mop, broom, squeegee and push broom heads, pail, scrub brush, sponge, disinfectant, detergent/degreaser, bleach, trash bags, gloves and dust mask; and a comfort kit for each family member.

You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.