Check out this post from our National Red Cross Social Media team on #GivingTuesday: It’s #GivingTuesday!! Spread Some Cheer.
The local Red Cross wishes you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. During this time of year, our Red Cross family encourages you to give something that means something to your community.
Our organization offers you the following opportunities to donate. It doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in the lives of those around you.
Donate your time: The local Red Cross serving Western Pennsylvania is always in need of volunteers. From responding to disasters to instructing lifesaving courses to educating community members on preparedness, our organization has a role for you. By offering just a few days each month, you can make a difference on the front lines of disaster, in the classroom or in the community. To find your local Red Cross, visit RedCross.org.
Donate your blood: One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Donating your blood takes less than 60 minutes. During the cold winter months, numbers of blood donors decrease. We encourage you to make a blood donation appointment today and help us meet the ever-present demand of those in need. Give the gift of life this holiday season.
Donate a holiday card, volunteer with Service to the Armed Forces: We encourage you to send holiday cards through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign before the post office box closes on Friday, Dec. 6. During the holiday season, the Red Cross delivers tens of thousands of cards to service members, veterans and their families at military hospitals and installations across the country and around the world. Address your card to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
The local Red Cross is always in need of volunteers who can provide assistance to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families before, during and after deployment. To volunteer your time to assist the nation’s heroes, visit RedCross.org.
Donate funds: Support the humanitarian needs of the local Red Cross. As a nonprofit organization, the local Red Cross relies on the generosity of donors to carry out its mission, to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, every day in the community. To make a donation, visit RedCross.org.
The local Red Cross has appointed Lisa Herter of Pittsburgh’s East End as a Disaster Response Specialist, overseeing disaster incidents in the chapter with a specific emphasis on Allegheny County. Herter will ensure service delivery from the Red Cross office in downtown Pittsburgh.
In her new role, Herter will be responsible for the implementation of disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs in the chapter’s coverage area. In addition, Herter will lead and manage an extensive volunteer team, ensuring the development of leadership roles within the service delivery function. As a specialist, Herter’s main tasks will include disaster response, volunteer management, program delivery and community mobilization.
Although Herter is new to the role, she is not a new face among the local Red Cross team. Herter served as a disaster response team volunteer for more than one year for the chapter. During this time, she gravitated to the work, finding satisfaction through the ability to give back to her community.
“We are pleased to welcome Lisa to our strong, vital workforce in the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter,” said Victor Roosen, Disaster and Program Officer for the local Red Cross. “Her skills and background as a licensed social worker will prove to be invaluable assets to our organization and the local community.”
Prior to her new position, Herter gained extensive nonprofit and social service experience as a Recruitment and Certification Specialist with Pressley Ridge and as a Child and Family Support Specialist with Every Child, Inc.
These positions allowed Herter to further improve the lives of disadvantaged youth through recruiting foster parents, training volunteers, advocating for children and building relationships with partner agencies.
In addition to her social services background, Herter diversifies her experience with roles in grant writing, fundraising and client casework.
Herter received a Bachelor of Arts in History as well as a Masters of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Formerly from Milford, Conn., Herter now resides in Pittsburgh with her daughter and five pets, one dog and four cats.
Youth Club of Westmoreland-Armstrong Band Together to Support Local Veterans
Eight volunteers, under the age of 18-years-old, collected more than 445 comfort items in support of area veterans this month. The active Red Cross club organized drives to gather items including blankets, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwashes and shaving creams.
One member of the group, Noah Chovanec, a high school senior, exemplified the Red Cross humanitarian mission by holding collections at Mt. Pleasant High School. Noah, a volunteer for more than 3 years, was able to increase the number of donated items through his efforts on the school campus and in the community.
All collected items will be donated to the Armstrong County Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center, a community residential treatment facility for homeless veterans needing rehabilitation and support.
To learn more about youth volunteer opportunities with the local Red Cross, contact Anna Drenning, Youth Volunteer Specialist, at Anna.Drenning@RedCross.org.
In Wake of Typhoon, Organization Activates its Family Tracing Services
PITTSBURGH – Since Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Pacific islands of the Philippines on Friday, the global Red Cross network has been responding to emergency needs for food, water and relief supplies, and the American Red Cross is lending people, expertise and equipment to this massive effort.
Additionally, recognizing that communications capabilities throughout the region have been significantly damaged, the American Red Cross has activated the Restoring Family Links service to connect individuals in the area to love ones in the Philippines.
As part of its family tracing services, the Red Cross helps to reconnect families separated by disaster. If people are trying to connect with family members or loved ones in the Philippines, they should keep in mind that many phone lines are down. If they are still unable to reach their loved ones in wake of the typhoon, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter to initiate a family tracing case.
Area residents who wish to request this service should contact their local Red Cross chapter at 412-263-3100.
While relief efforts are well underway, blocked roads, destroyed infrastructure and downed communication lines are making the response particularly challenging. This is typical of major disasters both internationally and in the U.S.
The Philippine Red Cross has begun distributions of relief supplies and provided meals to people affected by the storm. However, delivery of supplies in the most affected city of Tacloban has been significantly constrained by damage local infrastructure.
Specialized emergency response teams from Red Cross societies across the globe are arriving in the Philippines to assist. These include teams which specialize in logistics, disaster assessment, shelter, health, water and sanitation.
Four specialists from the American Red Cross are currently on the ground in the Philippines, focusing on assessment and telecommunications. Five additional disaster specialists will be deployed tomorrow.
How to Learn More, Help
For more information on current relief efforts, or to make a donation to the American Red Cross to support the typhoon response, visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
The local Red Cross serving McKean and Potter counties will actively recruit volunteers this November. The McKean-Potter chapter will be recruiting for the following positions:
• Disaster Responder: disaster response volunteers work with victims on-site, assisting them with their immediate needs and following-up on their long-term recovery plans.
• Community Outreach Volunteer: community outreach volunteers educate the public about the Red Cross and its five key services. Volunteers provide this education through community presentations and tabling events, among other activities.
Take the time to make a difference in your community. Turn heartbreak into hope, today. To learn more about recruitment or to sign up, contact the local office at 814-368-6197.
As a disaster response organization, the American Red Cross strives to assist victims after they have experienced one of the worst days of their lives. After the organization’s initial response, Red Cross volunteers and staff work one-on-one with individuals to advocate for their long-term recovery and provide them with the education and resources to prepare for potential future emergencies.
To further assist in its preparedness efforts, the local Red Cross serving Western Pennsylvania appointed Sandi Wraith of Sewickley as its Regional Direct Services Support Manager in the organization’s Disaster Cycle Services department.
In her new role, Wraith will be responsible for managing and coordinating Red Cross efforts in mass care, logistics, planning, readiness, situational awareness and recovery. Wraith rejoins the team with many years of nonprofit experience, including her role with the Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter as an Emergency Services Supervisor.
Prior to her work with the Red Cross, Wraith worked domestically and internationally, serving as a Program Consultant in Kenya with World Renew and as a Project Coordinator in Zambia with the Mennonite Central Committee. Her background includes volunteer management, community development project design and implementation, nonprofit strategic planning as well as grant writing and curriculum development.
Wraith received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of California as well as a Master of Arts in Agricultural Economics and a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin.
1930s Pittsburgh artist, Black, volunteered with the Red Cross to sketch World War II soldiers throughout Europe.
Her work with the relief organization as well as her lasting legacy during this time period will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. on WQED-TV.
In an effort to place existing portraits in the hands of soldiers’ descendants, WQED has launched an interactive photo gallery of Black’s work. The artwork can be found at wqed.org/ww2portraits.
Elizabeth Black’s Service
At the height of World War II, Miss Black volunteered with the American Red Cross and was assigned to the Clubmobile division. The retrofitted buses and trucks, staffed and driven by women, traveled to field camps throughout Europe providing donuts, coffee and a smiling face to war-weary troops. Hoping to be more than a hostess and utilize her talent Miss Black proposed a unique project to sketch soldiers and send the portraits to worried families in the United States. The Red Cross accepted the plan, giving Miss Black special assignment status.
For two years Miss Black sketched her way across Europe, choosing her subjects through a lottery and completing as many as a dozen portraits a day. Every soldier, sailor and airman signed their sketches, often including endearments to loved ones back home. They also autographed Miss Black’s journal, a fascinating collection of appreciative messages, poems and well wishes to the talented and charming Pittsburgh artist. Miss Black completed more than 1,000 sketches. The originals were sent to wives, mothers and other family members throughout the United States. At some point, Miss Black took quality photographs of about 100 sketches to keep a record of her work.
In Cherbourg, France, Miss Black met a naval commander from Tennessee who ironically shared her last name. She married Julian Black at the American Cathedral in Paris in 1945. After the war, the couple eventually settled in Waynesboro, Virginia. With her art career nearly dormant, Mrs. Black devoted her time to raising sons George and John while helping her husband start a business. After Julian Black’s passing and with her sons now grown, Mrs. Black moved to Berkeley, California and later Portland, Oregon. She resumed portrait work to a far lesser extent than her successful Pittsburgh years. In 1983, Elizabeth Black had a heart attack and died at 71.
With Halloween right around the corner, the American Red Cross would like everyone to stay safe when they don their costumes and go out to Trick-or-Treat.
Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents, so the Red Cross is offering the following tips to help make this Halloween safe
- Look for flame-resistant costumes.
- Plan the Trick-or-Treat route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.
- Make sure the Trick-or-Treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.
- Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
- Instead of masks, which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see, consider using face paint.
- Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
- Be cautious around pets and any other animals.
WELCOMING GHOSTS AND GOBLINS If someone is welcoming Trick-or-Treaters at their home, they should make sure the outdoor light is on. Other safety steps include:
- Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
- Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
- Restrain any household pets.
- Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard.
LEARN WHAT TO DO People can download the free American Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies whenever and wherever they need it. Features of the app include:
- Step-by-step instructions on how to handle the most common first aid situations;
- Videos and animations that make the skills easy to learn;
- Safety and preparedness tips; and
- Quizzes that users can take to earn badges which they can share with their friends on social media.
People can find all of the Red Cross apps in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.