We’ve all received an “ugly holiday sweater” or the equivalent: a gift that ends up in the next garage sale. If you take the advice of the American Red Cross to “give something that means something,” you’ll give twice: once to your loved one and also to a recipient you’ll never meet.
- Your gift might be a pint of blood at the holidays, when American Red Cross blood banks have an increased need for donations.
- It might be the gift time spent with veterans at our local Veterans’ Administration hospital.
- It might be a financial gift that allows the Red Cross to provide temporary housing to families who have survived a home fire.
The lifesaving gift of blood may be the first thing that comes to mind when people hear “Red Cross” – and with good reason. The Red Cross was a pioneer in blood banking and is the nation’s largest blood collection organization.
What may be less well-known is that most Red Cross staffers are volunteers. Without the gift of volunteers’ time, the Red Cross could not function. Volunteers often donate more than the standard 40-hour work week to this service, often for decades.
Finally, the Red Cross depends on the generosity of individual donors and corporations to finance its humanitarian work. These gifts range from corporate funding, to major gifts from local philanthropists, to thousands of smaller donations.
What do these gifts of time, talent and treasure fund?
- Disaster Services – the Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 large and small disasters every year, from a fire in someone’s home to a larger emergency like wildfires and flooding.
- Biomedical Services – patients in about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country depend on Red Cross blood donors to help them fight their way back to good health.
- Service to the Armed Forces – the Red Cross provides more than 352,000 services annually to members of the military, veterans and civilians on military bases in the U.S. and around the world.
- Measles and Rubella Initiative – every year, the Red Cross helps more than 140 million people outside the United States through our disaster response programs as well as vaccinating children against measles and rubella in countries all over the globe.
Visit redcross.org/gift to give a symbolic gift in honor of a friend, colleague, client or loved one this holiday season. You can give online, by mail, or phone and your gift is tax-deductible. You can receive free holiday greeting cards when you make your donation and with certain donation amounts you can receive a free thank-you gift. Your 2016 Holiday donation is a tax-deductible contribution to the American Red Cross.