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Unusual Weather Patterns and Dramatic Rise in Home Fire Responses Prompt Red Cross to Urge Support for Families Impacted by Disaster

Giving Day on April 26 to Benefit and #Help1Family

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 11, 2017 — On Giving Day, Wednesday, April 26, the American Red Cross is asking everyone to remember those families whose lives are changed forever by disaster. This one-day nationwide event is being held to help ensure the Red Cross is able to meet its critical mission to help families who have been affected by weather, disasters, home fires, and other emergencies.

Every year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters. That means that every eight minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster – the vast majority of which are home fires.

“During this year of unusual weather patterns affecting people across the country, it is important to remember that we can’t fulfill our mission without the generous support of the American people,” said Red Cross President and CEO Gail J. McGovern. “Whether impacted by a fire in their home or a large disaster that affected their entire community, people look to the Red Cross for help during moments of tragedy. On Giving Day, we are asking everyone to #help1family, and to support our mission of alleviating human suffering in the face of such emergencies.”

In just the first quarter of 2017, Red Cross workers in communities nationwide have responded to an unusually high number of multi-family fires–more than three times the number the year before. In addition, The Weather Channel reports that 27 people were killed by tornadoes so far this year, which is already more than the tornado-related deaths (17) in all of 2016. For disasters like these, the Red Cross is there to provide support to those in need.

Over the past year, Red Cross volunteers responded to 180 significant disasters in 45 states and two U.S. territories, including Hurricane Matthew, the Louisiana floods, wildfires, storms, and other emergencies. More than 32,000 Red Crossers opened nearly 800 emergency shelters providing 206,000 overnight stays, served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks, and distributed more than 2.1 million relief items. In addition, thousands of people across the country were impacted by a fire in their home.

Behind these statistics, however, are individuals and families that rely on their neighbors for help during their time of most need. For example, a gift of $88.50* can support a family of three with a day’s worth of food, blankets, comfort and other essentials.

“Every eight minutes we meet a family who has lost everything,” added McGovern. “By participating in our Giving Day, your help allows us to provide vital assistance to people in communities across the country impacted by home fires and other disasters.”

Funds raised on April 26 will go toward supporting families recovering from disasters such as home fires, tornados and floods. Giving Day donations can be made at www.redcross.org/givingday. All donations will be processed on April 26, 2017.

*These dollar handles are based on FY16 data.

About our Giving Day Supporters:

The American Red Cross is grateful for those donors that are making an impact to #help1family by supporting our Giving Day. They include: Sunoco, Willow Springs Foundation, Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc, Carvel, The Franzen Family and Jim Hixon. Thanks to the kindness of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to provide hope and urgent relief to people when they need it most.

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.

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