Red Cross Crosses 100 Years of Lifesaving
Just a century ago, everyday life in our community was very different. The center of life in Baltimore was Howard Street, with its shopping district and developed public transportation. However, Baltimore residents who wanted to leave the city and take a break in the countryside often visited their relatives and friends in Roland Park. Most Baltimoreans went about their normal lives, building their present and future, while the most active devoted their time to participating in charity and developing various reforms.
The carefree life of the Baltimoreans officially ended in 1904, after the so-called Great Baltimore Fire, which led to a strong increase in the level of civic consciousness of the inhabitants. Local community leaders and members of a peculiar Shaker sect joined forces and organized a local branch of a very young organization known as the American Red Cross. She proclaimed her mission to alleviate suffering from wars, plague, famine, fires and other national disasters.
A century later, the goals of the organization and the needs of the population have not changed, but our capabilities have increased to unprecedented heights. Thousands of volunteers are easily mobilized to rescue people suffering from natural disasters, no matter where in the world the cataclysm occurs. Modern American Red Cross health and safety standards would impress Commodore Wilbert Longfellow, whose Red Cross swimming and life-saving program reduced drowning deaths from 10 to 1.4 per 100,000 people. Today, volunteering in the Red Cross is an honorable thing that has become a way of life for many. More than 2,000 Red Cross volunteers in Central Maryland help our organization deal with at least three emergencies each day. Domestic fires predominate among them. Many volunteers do not limit their activities to their own community, but travel throughout the United States and even to other countries of the world, providing assistance to victims of fires, hurricanes, floods and other emergent situations.
Recently, the level of awareness of the importance of Red Cross programs among the local population has been steadily increasing. High school students are required to participate in community service in order to gain access to higher education. The age threshold for blood donors has been lowered: now people have the opportunity to become a donor as soon as they turn 16 years old. The Center for Tracing the Victims of the Holocaust and the War operates in Baltimore, responding to the needs of the population, which the founders of the local Red Cross could not even imagine a century ago. It has been a hundred years since the American Red Cross of Central Maryland, and we firmly believe that it will continue to play a critical role in shaping the community landscape of our community in the future.
No other local organization, except the Red Cross, is able to meet all the basic needs of more than a hundred people whose houses were completely destroyed due to fires in the local community in two days. This is an example of the emergency that the Red Cross had to deal with in Baltimore last March, when four apartment buildings and several single-family houses were engulfed in flames. Our Red Cross branch managed even this tense situation, although it usually encounters no more than three fires per day.
What is the Red Cross doing in Central Maryland?
We teach local residents to face any unexpected events fully armed.
Families of Central Maryland natives serving in Iraq and other world's hotspots are keeping in touch with their loved ones in war zones through emergency services through the efforts of the Red Cross. Also, thanks to the efforts of the American Red Cross, people who were separated by the Second World War find their friends and relatives. More than half a century has passed since its end, but comrades-in-arms and separated relatives still do not lose hope of finding each other. Over the past year, volunteers from the Baltimore Holocaust and War Tracing Center have helped 56 veterans to meet.
Residents of Central Maryland can be sure that the Red Cross will tirelessly prepare them for a safer and healthier life. The organization provides training on the rules of first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, instructs on the rules of water sports and safe behavior on the water.
Thousands of Central Maryland residents participate in blood donation programs. Together they have already saved countless and priceless lives. Everyone, young and old, children, immigrants, men and women, health care workers, benefits from various Red Cross training programs according to their abilities and desires. The number of Red Cross volunteers in our community is about 3 thousand people, and in the country they make up more than 97% of all Red Cross employees. All of them are ready to help those in need, proving that when we come together, we become something more than we are individually.
- 548 responses to disasters
- 691 families received financial assistance
- 690 persons received assistance after the disaster
- 54 volunteers underwent training to combat disasters
- $2,600 on average are spent on disaster relief per day in the Central Maryland region
Assisting the Community
- 33,922 persons instructed in disaster preparedness
- 367 Holocaust-era cases opened
- 79 Holocaust survivors found and reunited with relatives and loved ones
- 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