As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, disasters like relentless hurricanes and wildfires, have upended hundreds of thousands of lives across the country. Through it all, more people are stepping up as Red Cross volunteers to help others. It is a true testament of the humanitarian spirit of people in our communities.
Volunteers represent more than 90% of the Red Cross workforce. This year, more than 70,000 people across the country joined the Red Cross as volunteers, but the need continues. As communities across the country grapple with the pandemic, young people have played a critical role in disaster response, with Millennials and Gen Z representing more than half of new Red Cross volunteers.
Nationwide, 75% of new volunteers also stepped up at a pivotal time to fill mission-critical positions, such as shelter and health workers addressing urgent disaster needs, as well as blood donor ambassadors and transportation specialists helping to provide cancer patients, trauma victims and others with lifesaving blood.
Blood donation is an essential service, and everyone’s well-being is our top priority. The Red Cross follows the latest public health guidelines, as well as 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 for COVID-19 survivors to potentially help those battling the virus recover. Thousands of COVID-19 survivors have stepped up to share their potentially lifesaving antibodies by giving plasma. Since April, thousands of COVID-19 survivors have rolled up a sleeve – many of whom are new to blood donation. Their donations have enabled the Red Cross to distribute more than 72,000 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 or call 800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment today.
You can also give your time through volunteering. Sign up at redcross.org/volunteer.
Nominate a Hero in your community – Help us honor those making a difference in your community, visit redcross.org/hero to nominate your hero today!
Illinois Red Cross Volunteers Have Helped Over 7,000 People Affected by Disasters this Year
Since January, volunteers with the Illinois Red Cross have assisted more than 7,000 people affected by local disasters, including home fires. Our volunteers have helped them secure a safe place to stay, providing them with emotional support and other assistance.
In the past week, the Red Cross responded to 18 home fires across Chicagoland. From November 23 through today, our volunteers responded to incidents in Forest Park, Glen Ellyn, Joliet, South Holland, and more. Eleven of these fires took place in Chicago, including two incidents that sadly resulted with the loss of lives.
In total, the Red Cross helped 73 individuals, including 51 adults and 22 children with temporary emergency lodging, health and mental health services, financial assistance and recovery planning.
TWO MINUTES TO ESCAPE A FIRE Test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late. If you need assistance after a home fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. 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 us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.