May 8 is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, a time to recognize the work of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff responding to emergencies and crises worldwide. Every day, Red Crossers are out in local communities, helping those in need and making a difference in the lives of others. This year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is asking people to demonstrate acts of kindness through the #FromtheHeart campaign.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is an opportunity to show gratitude to the nearly 15 million volunteers for their dedication to the humanitarian cause and Fundamental Principles and to thank them for their kindness, bravery and selflessness.
“We want to celebrate the people in our communities, who often are the first ones to step up and support those in need around them. When volunteers support us, they do it with love and from the heart,” the IFRC said in a statement.
Amid the tragedy of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria crisis, Red Crossers sprang into action, helping the most vulnerable in times of need. Around the world other emergencies and crises continued to upend lives — including the conflict in Ukraine, the hunger crisis in Africa and most recently, the fighting in Sudan. When people are suffering and in harm’s way, Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are there with open arms.
Red Cross officials say that staff and volunteers pour their hearts and souls into this work and that caring for others makes a huge difference around the world each day.
A Storied Movement
The idea for World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day came about after the first World War, when an "annual action that could take hold in the whole world... that would be a major contribution to peace" was discussed at the 14th International Conference of the Red Cross.
May 8 was eventually chosen because it is the anniversary of the birth of the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant. The first 'International Red Cross Day,’ as it used to be known, was celebrated on May 8, 1948. The official title of the day changed over time and became known as 'World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day' in 1984.
Today, the day is an opportunity every year to celebrate our network of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, reaffirm our unwavering commitment to a common humanity, and reflect on our Fundamental Principles. Learn more here about World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.