During Red Cross Month this March, the American Red Cross recognizes the nation’s Everyday Heroes who give of themselves and in some way help their community. Those heroes include everyone who volunteers to be part of our Disaster Action Team (DAT), which has responded to 21 separate fires in Erie and Niagara Counties in February, providing immediate emergency assistance to 110 people.
“Please remember those who help all of us here in Western New York by giving their time to help their neighbor,” said Kenneth Turner, Chief Programs Officer. “We want to thank all our heroes during Red Cross Month – our volunteers, blood donors, class takers and financial supporters who help us assist those in need.”
Red Cross assistance following a fire typically includes vouchers for temporary housing, food and clothing, as well as emotional support from trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers. On Friday, February 22, volunteers opened a shelter for more than 27 residents displaced when their Forest Avenue apartment house in Buffalo was destroyed by fire. Earlier that morning, DAT volunteers responded to a call on Timon Street in Buffalo to assist ten people, and the Red Cross continues to support those affected by this tragic fire which claimed the lives of a young child and his mother. The Disaster Action Team was called to a third fire later that afternoon on Rose Street in Buffalo. Those are just three of the 11 fires volunteers have responded to in Erie County in February. During that same time frame, 35 Niagara County residents have received Red Cross assistance following ten separate fires.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month 70 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since 1943, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross is synonymous with helping people, and has been doing so for more than 130 years.
“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross and there are many different ways to do it,” Turner said. “They can develop a preparedness plan for their household, become a Red Cross volunteer, give blood, or take a Red Cross class, just to name a few.”
The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.
For more information on how to become an Everyday Hero during Red Cross Month, please visit www.redcross.org/buffaloniagara.