Community Services

Annual Report 2004-5

 Celebrating 100 Years Of Lifesaving Service 

One hundred years ago our community's landscape looked very different. Howard Street, with its street cars and main shopping area, was the center of downtown life. Baltimoreans who wanted to escape the confines of the city might venture out to visit faraway relatives in rural Roland Park. Many civic minded residents concerned themselves with charity and reform efforts—when they had the time; but most citizens were busy with their own lives.

After the great Baltimore Fire of 1904, however, that attitude began to change. Local movers and shakers joined forces to take up Clara Barton's challenge to organize a local branch of the nascent organization known as the American Red Cross. Their mission: "The relief of suffering by war, pestilence, famine, fire and other national calamities."

A century later our needs are not so different, but our capabilities have increased tremendously. Today we are able to mobilize thousands of volunteers to respond to disasters anywhere in the world. Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow, whose Red Cross swimming and lifesaving training program is credited with cutting the rate of drowning deaths from 10 to 1.4 per 100,000 people, would be astounded by today's catalog of diverse health and safety training options.

Volunteerism has become a way of life. In Central Maryland, more than 2,000 citizens proudly call themselves Red Cross volunteers. These volunteers help us respond to at least three disasters each day (mostly house fires) in our community. Many are willing to travel across country or around the globe to bring disaster relief to victims of fires, hurricanes, floods and other emergencies.

Unique and historic events have created new opportunities for the Red Cross. High school students are now required to perform community service to graduate, and young people have the opportunity to donate blood as soon as they turn 16. Here in Baltimore, the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center responds to a need that our local Red Cross founders could not have envisioned a century ago.

As we celebrate 100 years of lifesaving service to the community, we look forward to a future where the American Red Cross continues to be vital a part of the Central Maryland landscape.


Together, We Can Save A Life
Is there another local organization prepared to immediately respond, within 48 hours, to meet the needs of 120 people burned out of their homes in seven separate fires across the community? Red Cross volunteers rushed to aid victims of four apartment building fires as well as another dozen people displaced after three single-family fires in Baltimore during a particularly hectic weekend last March. More typically, the Red Cross responds to two or three fires each day. We are equally prepared for large and small-scale disasters. We also teach Central Marylanders how to ready themselves for the unexpected.

The families of local soldiers stationed in Iraq, and other world trouble spots, depend on the Red Cross to keep them connected through emergency messaging and other services.
Friends and loved ones separated during World War II continue to ask the American Red Cross to help them find answers to questions lingering for more than five decades. Last year volunteers at the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center in Baltimore were rewarded with finding 56 people alive.

First aid, CPR, defibrillation, aquatics and water safety classes: Central Maryland families count on the Red Cross to prepare them to live safer, healthier lives.

Senior citizens, children, youth, immigrants, men and women working to enter the health care professions all benefited from Red Cross preparedness programs expressly tailored to meet their needs.
Tens of thousands of Central Marylanders rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. Together they saved countless lives.

Together, Red Cross volunteers in our area are nearly 3,000 strong. Throughout the nation, volunteers make up more than 97 percent of the workforce. When we come together, we become something bigger than us all.
Responding to Emergencies. . .
548 responses to disaster incidents
691 families assisted financially
690 persons assisted after the disaster
54 volunteers trained to provide disaster relief
$2,600 average expenditure on disaster relief per day in the Central Maryland region
Assisting the Community . . .
33,922 persons instructed in disaster preparedness


Holocaust-era cases opened
Holocaust survivors found and reunited with loved one
3,948 military, veteran and civilian families received emergency and social services
3,200 emergency communication services provided
2,905 local hospitalized veterans received Red Cross comfort kits
Providing the Opportunity to Serve. . .
2,147 adults served their community
559 youth volunteers served their community
4,724 students reached with Red Cross service learning modules
120,000 units of blood collected in the Central Maryland region
Operations Summary...