- Disaster Relief
- Safety Training
- Military (Service to the Armed Forces)
- International Services
- Red Cross First Aid Stations
- Community Events and Presentations (speaker requests)
To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. We do this by providing disaster relief and teaching lifesaving skills to the people of Hawaii, helping people prevent and prepare for emergencies, and providing support to military families.
Our humanitarian mission connects to people and communities throughout the islands, across the nation and around the world. We are committed to ensuring our people, programs and services reflect the diversity of the people and the communities we serve. We encourage you to join us on this journey and experience the greatness of the human spirit at its best.
- ...all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope;
- ...our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;
- ...everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products;
- ...all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed; and
- ...in an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.
- Compassionate: We are dedicated to improving the lives of those we serve and to treating each other with care and respect.
- Collaborative: We work together as One Red Cross family, in partnership with other organizations, and always embrace diversity and inclusiveness.
- Creative: We seek new ideas, are open to change and always look for better ways to serve those in need.
- Credible: We act with integrity, are transparent guardians of the public trust and honor our promises.
- Committed: We hold ourselves accountable for defining and meeting clear objectives, delivering on our mission and carefully stewarding our donor funds.
- Lifesaving training to almost 20,000 people per year (CPR, first aid, aquatics, babysitting, pet first aid, and nurse aide training)
- Free Annual Summer Swim program for over 45 years at Ala Moana Beach for hundreds of keiki and adults, and a volunteer teen Summer Buddies leadership program.
- Workplace Safety teaches workers how to prevent injuries and respond to life threatening emergencies
- Caregiving teaches families to care for loved ones at home, or in a career to care for sick, elderly and disabled in a care setting.
- Disaster preparedness information was shared with over 27,000 people on how to prepare for emergencies
- Pre-deployment briefings provided to 17,000 servicemen and families
- Provided family follow-up to military emergency communications cases, local referrals and services to 2,200 Hawaii military service members and their families per year
- Reunited families torn apart by war or conflict through international tracing
- Responded to 80 local disaster incidents, meeting families immediate emergency needs to include providing health assessments and crisis counseling when needed
- Recruited and trained 600 volunteers to augment Tripler Hospital’s medical and administrative staff
- With the threat of flu pandemic, terrorist attacks, and major natural and man-made disasters, the American Red Cross is more relevant and necessary than ever before. It is not “if,” but “when” a major disaster in Hawaii will occur, and with your help, we'll be ready.
- The Red Cross is not a government agency. All disaster training and services are free, made possible by generous donations from local individuals and businesses and our dedicated volunteers.
While most people know the Red Cross exists worldwide, few realize what a rich history the Red Cross has in Hawaii. Officially chartered as a chapter of the American Red Cross in 1917, the humanitarian work of the Red Cross actually began as early as 1898, when 300 women, including Princess Kaiulani, cared for sick and wounded soldiers en route from the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
In 1917, Queen Liliuokalani sewed a Red Cross flag that soared above Iolani Palace during World War I, while volunteers rolled bandages in the Throne Room. When the flag was presented to the Territorial Governor on September 14, 1917, the Queen said "the flag is an expression of my warm and hearty sympathy for the cause of humanity."
Soon after the Red Cross was founded, the Red Cross held its first membership drive. On September 29, 1917, the Royal Hawaiian Band boarded a special street car that drove around Honolulu while the band played “There’ll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.” Ambulances paraded through the streets, and the Hawaiian Electric Company sounded a big whistle several times each hour – once for every 500 new members. Over 16,000 people joined the Red Cross that day, or one-sixth of the entire population of Oahu. Among them was Queen Liliuokalani, seated in a wheelchair on the lanai of her Washington Place home, who presented a $100 check to become a patron member.
In the months that followed, daily newspaper reports of mounting casualties stirred more people into action to demonstrate their compassion and patriotism. As future Territorial Governor George Carter put it, in an address to the Civic Convention in Honolulu: “The Red Cross is to humanity what our flag is to liberty. They are symbols of our faith and liberty. The Red Cross organization is the channel along which the generosity of our hearts may be carried into action.”
Volunteers were desperately needed to prepare surgical dressings, sew hospital garments, and knit blankets, sweaters, socks, hats, and gloves. For the duration of the war, the Iolani Palace Throne Room became the production center with long makeshift tables for folding gauze and rolling bandages. The firemen at the Makiki Station became well known for their knitting, and by 1918, over 280,000 items had been produced by the people of Hawaii to be sent to the war front.
After World War I, the Hawaii Red Cross focused on first aid, water safety, and nursing programs. Throughout these years, the Red Cross assisted victims of floods, fires, and flu and measles epidemics. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, the Hawaii Red Cross, the only American Red Cross chapter in a combat zone, sprung into action.
Red Cross Motor Corps volunteers evacuated people from the danger zone, transported supplies to Tripler, and cared for the wounded. Canteen Corps fed 300 evacuees and volunteers at Iolani Palace that day, 1,000 the next day, and continued to feed people until the emergency situation was over.
For 95 years, the Red Cross has played a vital role in helping the people of Hawaii recover from every major disaster, including Hurricanes Iniki and Iwa, Sacred Falls landslide, New Years & Manoa floods, Kaloko Dam burst, Big Island earthquake, Japan tsunami damage in Hawaii, volcanic eruptions, and air crashes. Hawaii Red Cross volunteers are on call 24/7, 365 days/year and respond to disasters every 4 days, providing not only food, clothing, and shelter, but crisis counseling to help people get back on their feet after a tragedy. We also teach 30,000 residents each year how to save lives and provide emergency communication between deployed military service members and their loved ones.
We are not a government agency and must rely on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide these critical services to our community. Mahalo to all of our Red Cross donors and volunteers for helping us perpetuate our humanitarian legacy for future generations.
We are celebrating 2012 as the year of the 95th Anniversary of the Red Cross here in Hawaii.
To learn about our role in WWI, click here
- To see historical photos, click here (PDF, 607KB)