PHILADELPHIA — In honor of the 71st annual “March is Red Cross Month,” all month long the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) will launch several initiatives, bask in the glow of many Philadelphia landmarks lit up in red, and host several events, including its signature event, the Red Ball presented by Independence Blue Cross.
“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to support our mission,” American Red Cross SEPA CEO Renee Cardwell Hughes said. “Because the Red Cross is not a government agency and not funded by the government, we rely on the public’s kindness and generosity to do our work, here at home and around the globe.”
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began a presidential tradition of naming March as National Red Cross Month. At that time, he encouraged Americans to “rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.”
The Red Cross has had a busy year. In addition to responding to more than 730 disasters, assisting more than 1,050 families (3,293 people) in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, SEPA provided food, clothing, shelter, supplies, and other emergency needs to more than 5,000 people before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy. SEPA deployed more than 200 volunteers locally and another 50 to New York and New Jersey. SEPA responded to more than 700 disasters last year, helping more than 1,000 families (3,200 people) with immediate emergency assistance. SEPA also assisted more than 800 military families and trained more than 50,000 people in lifesaving skills.
SEPA has many events planned for “March is Red Cross Month.” On March 2nd, SEPA will operate a disaster drill to simulate what to do if the region and local emergency response agencies have little or no cell phone or wireless internet access, similar to what happened in West Virginia last summer. On March 9th, SEPA will host its 13th annual Red Ball, presented by Independence Blue Cross, gala at the Please Touch Museum. On March 19th, SEPA will take part in an event honoring our nation’s veterans and supporting efforts to end homelessness among veterans. On March 21st, Philadelphia City Council will recognize the work of the local Red Cross during a ceremony at City Hall. The region’s county councils and commissions also plan similar recognition ceremonies.
During March, SEPA will launch its one-of-a-kind RESPECT program designed specifically to teach valuable and potentially lifesaving preparedness information to senior citizens. A new television fire safety Public Service Announcement featuring SEPA CEO Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes and Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers will debut. SEPA will also recognize Commissioner Ayers during the month by naming a portion of its Red Cross House – The Center for Disaster Recovery after him. The date of that ceremony has not yet been determined.
Also during March, lights on the Ben Franklin Bridge will glow red most nights and the Cira Centre will have a red cross lit up several nights as well.
The lights “will be visual reminders of what the Red Cross does every day that largely goes unnoticed,” said Judge Hughes. “Most of the time, our work goes unnoticed because we are helping families, who are cold, hungry, and frightened in the middle of the night.”
Special note: Stories can be tailored to your needs. For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact Dave Schrader, 215-299-4042. To learn more about Red Cross Month and the daily work of the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania, visit www.redcrossphilly.org.
About the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania:
The American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Red Cross is not a government agency. All Red Cross assistance is free of charge. Financial contributions are always welcomed and needed and can be made by going to RedCrossPhilly.org.