You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Why They Gave

“Giving,” Oprah Winfrey has said, is “being able to touch somebody’s life.”

There are two opportunities to touch somebody’s life with each selection from the American Red Cross 2011 Holiday Giving Catalog. Gifts from the catalog first touch the life of the person receiving the gift—what an honor to friends, family members and business associates to be given such a meaningful gift.

Secondly, each gift really matters to someone in need, touching lives with formula and diapers for an infant sheltered from a storm or shovels and wheelbarrows with which to dig ditches when floods threaten.

Some contend that each gift from the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog also touches a third life—the life of the giver, who receives the satisfaction of knowing that the present will bring someone food, shelter, comfort and hope.

Gift givers like Eileen Cooley of Atlanta, Georgia, who said, “There is so much need for resources around the world. We want to help other families who may be struggling.” Or Andrew Van Dyke of Bridgewater, New Jersey, who said simply that “karma” prompted his catalog purchase.

Honoring Those We Love

Many gift givers, including Lori Peterson of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, and Patricia Hagen of Burnsville, Minnesota, purchased gifts in memory of loved ones. “My father served in the Korean War,” Peterson said, “I would like to help service members in his honor.” Hagen made a purchase “to honor the memory of a dedicated EMS responder, teacher and mentor.”

Gifts were purchased to recognize family and friends. “My son loves bicycles, so I like the bicycle gift,” said Jodi Altendorf of Corvallis, Oregon, “My niece and nephew have experienced having an ill parent, so the gift of games and art supplies for kids was perfect for them.” Nathan Groce of Washington, D.C., gave a gift of measles vaccinations for his two-year-old niece. “I was motivated to give the gift because I am blessed that she is healthy and happy,” Groce said.

Giving Back

The American Red Cross provides services to families affected by nearly 70,000 disasters every year. Many catalog shoppers were among the millions who have received Red Cross services and wanted to say thank you.

“Our six-month-old daughter nearly died twice during the past two months,” said Grace Reddy of Ballston Spa, New York, “Blood transfusions saved her life. Thank you so very much for all you do!”

Gerald Nicholia of Tanana, Arkansas, made a catalog gift to thank the Red Cross for help during a recent flood. “I know how it is to have nothing and sure appreciate the help that Red Cross gave when Tanana flooded out, some people lost everything,” he said, “Thank you.”

Teaching Youth the Joy of Giving

Young philanthropists also used the catalog this holiday season. Through the year the nine-year-old daughter of Tracy Thompson from Murphys, California, saved her money to purchase gifts “to help children in the world who have experienced disasters.”

Kathleen Kandris of Brockport, New York, found that the Holiday Gift Catalog was the perfect way to teach young members of her family how good it feels to be a giver. “My great nieces receive many gifts,” she said, “and I felt they would be better served to learn how to give and receive the gift of knowing something good is being done for someone else. Jaimie is age 8 and Alexa is 5. I discussed this idea with them and they picked out the gifts themselves.”

Give Red Cross Gifts All Year Round

Shoppers also purchased gifts that were not specifically for the holiday season. Adriana Gutierrez of Gainesville, Florida, purchased a catalog gift to honor her friends who “wanted donations made to charity instead of gifts on their wedding day.” Geraldine Herlihy of Holden, Massachusetts, gave a military comfort kit to honor her aunt Amy’s birthday.

The Holiday Gift Catalog will close on January 1, 2012. However, the American Red Cross is open day and night, 365 days a year. Think about the Red Cross when looking for special gifts throughout the year. Donate money or blood, or find just the right merchandise at the Red Cross Store.