American Red Cross calling for more volunteers, blood donors during pandemic
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 24, 2020 — Facing a relentless disaster season, families in the U.S. have spent more nights in emergency lodging in 2020 than in any other year over the past decade.
More than 1 million times this year, a person relied on the Red Cross for a safe place to sleep after back-to-back hurricanes, record-breaking wildfires and other disasters. That’s more than four times the annual average from 2011 to 2019.
“Families are overwhelmed coping with the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters in a single year — on top of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Yet through it all, more people are stepping up to help others by volunteering and giving blood through the Red Cross. Their selfless and kind-hearted actions underscore the unwavering humanitarian spirit of people in our country, and we are incredibly grateful for their willingness to give to others. Our fervent hope is that people will continue to give during this very challenging time.”
THOUSANDS ANSWER CALL TO HELP This year, more than 70,000 people across the country joined the Red Cross as volunteers. Making up more than 90% of the Red Cross workforce, volunteers are the backbone of the organization’s humanitarian mission. As the country grapples with the pandemic during this holiday season, more volunteers will be needed to support the Red Cross mission. From shelter and health workers addressing urgent disaster needs, to blood donor ambassadors and transportation specialists helping to provide cancer patients, trauma victims and others with lifesaving blood, volunteers across the country are needed for these mission-critical roles.
NEW BLOOD DONORS HELP SAVE LIVES In 2020, Red Cross blood drive cancellations tripled compared to the year prior — mostly due to COVID-19. Since March, over 50,000 blood drives were canceled as the pandemic forced schools, businesses and community organizations to close, impacting over 1 million blood donation appointments.
Blood donation is an essential service, and everyone’s well-being is our top priority. The Red Cross follows the latest public health guidelines, and has put additional precautions in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
This pandemic has also caused the Red Cross to adapt its collections to include plasma from COVID-19 survivors to potentially help those battling the virus recover. Since April, nearly 25,000 COVID-19 survivors have rolled up a sleeve to donate plasma — many of whom are first-time blood donors. Their donations have enabled the Red Cross to ship nearly 50,000 units to hospitals across the country treating COVID-19 patients.
HOW YOU CAN HELP On Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season, help people in need by donating at redcross.org/gift. A gift of any size makes a difference. If you’re healthy and feeling well, we also urge you to donate blood this holiday season. Your blood donation can make a lifesaving difference for a patient in need. Visit RedCrossBlood.org to schedule an appointment today. And finally, consider volunteering to help your neighbors in need.
About Our Corporate Holiday Supporters:
During this holiday season, the Red Cross is grateful for corporate partners who contribute to our Holiday Campaign. They include our national partners AmazonSmile, Circle K, PayPal, Salesforce and Wells Fargo and regional champions BRB Beads, Gig Car Share and Mickman Brothers. Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to bring help and hope to people across the country. To learn more about our corporate holiday supporters, visit https://www.redcross.org/donations/ways-to-donate/holiday-gifts/holiday-partners.html.