Monday, February 5, 2018

3 things I learned about the Red Cross

Guest Blog Post by Pamela Gandy – Public Relations Student at Texas Tech University.    

I cannot remember a time before I knew about the Red Cross. In 2010 when a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, I was in seventh grade. In the weeks following the earthquake, my school held a fundraising competition between all the homeroom classes. Students, teachers, and staff donated their money to try to provide some relief for those affected (and to win bragging rights over the other classes).  I can remember watching the news at school, seeing dozens of volunteers wearing the Red Cross logo as they brought relief items to the people of Haiti.
Eight years later, I am beginning an internship at the Texas South Plains Chapter of the Red Cross. My perception of the organization has changed significantly since seventh grade.  In my brief time with the nonprofit, I have learned that the Red Cross does far more than send supplies to victims of natural disasters.
1.      Before Texas Tech
Established in 1881, the Red Cross has a very long history. Even more impressively, the South Plains chapter, located in Lubbock, has existed for 100 years. In 1917, Lubbock was barely large enough to be considered a town. Lubbock’s pride and joy, Texas Tech, did not even exist yet. The fact that the chapter, Lubbock, and the surrounding towns of the Texas South plains, have grown so much in those 100 years, is truly amazing.

2.      The Red Cross Reconnects Families
Despite all the media coverage of volunteers working to help those affected by natural disasters, emergency relief is only one component of what the Red Cross does. Much of the work the Red Cross does will never be shown on CNN during primetime. I was very surprised to learn that one of the services the Red Cross offers, was reconnecting families separated by wars and extreme weather events. The Red Cross works with people in Washington D.C. and all around the globe to help bring families back together. People impacted by the recent hurricanes along the Gulf Coast were able to be reconnected with their loved ones because of the Red Cross.
3.      The nurses in white uniforms.
Since the first World War, the organization has taken military assistance very seriously. The methods of helping service members, however, have come a long way since the time of nurses wearing white uniforms. Volunteering at veterans’ hospitals, supporting veterans acclimate to civilian life, and providing emergency and financial support, are just a few of the ways the nonprofit works to help military families. Domestic and abroad, in times of peace and war, the Red Cross strives to help service men and women in any way possible.

The Red Cross is a network of people who are dedicated to the mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering. In my short time with the nonprofit, I have been so impressed by the volunteers who work to improve the lives of others. Like most things, the Red Cross cannot be accurately represented or defined in a 45 second television news story. It is an organization made up of many components and countless volunteers. I look forward to spending more time with the Red Cross, learning all that it has to offer. 

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