Our History: The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties first emerged in 1898 as the result of assistance efforts during the Spanish-American War. Led by Harriet Ballou, the region’s first board chair, early members collected and delivered bandages, surgical supplies, fruits and vegetables to soldiers in need in Santiago, Cuba.
Over the next several decades, the local Red Cross supported military members and their families, provided disaster relief and assisted in health and safety preparedness initiatives. The region’s achievements during the mid-20th century include sending more than four million surgical supply items during World War II, participating in the first mass anti-polio inoculation for adults in the 1950s and providing medical aid and relocation assistance at Camp Pendleton for more than 38,000 refugees of the Vietnam War.
Today, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties continues to provide its invaluable services to the community by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.