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The Dangers of Rumors and Misinformation

Volunteers

Today there are roughly 6,000 American Red Cross volunteers on the ground in 13 states and U.S. territories whose sole purpose is to help their neighbors. These 6,000 volunteers are helping thousands they’ve never met, who have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, as well as thousands more threatened by wildfires across the West and Northwest. In too many cases to count, our volunteers have set aside family and professional obligations to put our humanitarian mission first and lend a hand.

While these volunteers work tirelessly to deliver much-needed aid to areas decimated by unprecedented disaster events, the American Red Cross is faced with an onslaught of baseless claims, rumors or outright lies that do nothing more than undermine our critical relief efforts.

We embrace the exchange of different ideas and points of view. And during times of disaster, we know that emotions run high and misinformation is quick to spread. But these accusations (theft, charging for services, denying assistance) not only derail the efforts of so many workers providing aid, they divert resources away from our core mission: to deliver relief. The countless hours spent addressing malicious falsehoods ultimately risk hurting those we’re trying to serve.

So for those of you who doubt our credibility, we have one thing to say to you: Join us. Sign up. Put on a Red Cross vest and volunteer at one of our shelters, blood drives or events. We welcome your service.

For those with complaints, provide specifics so that we may follow up to ensure our services are adequately meeting needs and measuring up to the standards we expect and communities deserve. We take legitimate criticisms seriously.

But for those of you determined to perpetuate hatred, rumors, misinformation or lies, you’ll have to excuse us for not addressing you, as we’ve got important work to do to provide help to those in need.

American Red Cross

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.