Blood Donations Needed During the Holiday Season

November 23, 2015

As we enter the holiday season people are getting busy – organizing dinner parties and planning family get-togethers. Lots of fun stuff awaits, and people want to feel good for  the holidays, but not everyone does. Patients in hospitals are still in need of blood products from generous donors in good health.

Donors are especially needed in the weeks leading up to and after the holidays. Blood and platelet donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when festivities pull people away form their donation appointments. This often causes a drop in the blood available for patients in the winter months.

You can give someone the chance to feel better before the holidays are in full swing. Be part of something meaningful, and give blood or platelets through the American Red Cross to help someone hurt or sick. If you are unable to give blood, you can still help by hosting a Red Cross virtual blood drive, volunteering or making a financial donation.

Give something that means something, and make a blood or platelet donation appointment now by downloading the Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Please share the need with others in your social network and use the hastag #GiveWithMeaning.bloodfor web



It’s the Smallest Things…

October 20, 2015


I’m working in Charleston supporting this awesome team of volunteers helping thousands of families who have been devastated by the horrific flooding. Our team has endless dedication, compassion, problem solving skills, serving hands and giving hearts.

Several days ago, while sitting at a table working, one of the local chapter volunteers leading the Damage Assessment team in our District came in the office after picking her grandson up from school and needed him to stay with her in the office while she completed her tasks.

So the 10 year old (same age as one of my grandkids) finished his homework, had a snack and was ready for something else to do.  We talked about the Disaster Relief Operation and how important the work of the disaster responders were to the people impacted by the flood…I’m guessing he knew this already from hearing his grandmother talk about her service.  He questioned me about how old you had to be to volunteer.  I talked with him about my experience on various disaster assignments and how it made me feel to see cards and signs  thanking our responders… that read “thank you”, a sign hung in a space we’re working especially those hands drawn by kids mean so much!   He said I can do that and so it began…

Earlier we had talked about the “helping hands” our Disaster Responders use at the Red Cross so we tossed around ideas of what he might draw…maybe a Red Cross and hands.  I expressed that Red Cross has equal sides and we found a sign to use as a stencil.  I was pleasantly surprised when he decided to trace his hands too.  The sight of him tracing his hand reminded me of the many times I’ve seen my grandchildren do the same…he traced his left hand and then asked me to help trace his right, I of course was happy to do so!


While putting the finishes touches on his picture a visitor came into the chapter. She was touring the impacted areas and came to the District Headquarters. The visitor was President and CEO of the American Red Cross Gail McGovern.  As Gail spoke to the entire workforce, including my new friend, he held up the sign and Gail with a warm smile called him to the front of the room and then accepted his heart felt “thank you” to us Red Crossers.  The “heart and hands” of a 10-year old captured ALL our hearts that afternoon. Gail asked that the picture be mailed back to her office so it wouldn’t get bent on her plane trip home.

Today, my buddy, came into the office again, he greeted me with a hug, a high five and a great big smile, a new Red Crosser I’m sure!

By American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region Senior Disaster Program Manager Susan B. Smith 

Have A Safe Yet Spooky Haloween!

October 20, 2015

From the candy to the costumes, Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents alike. But it can pose dangers to young revelers. To help make this year’s festivity a trick-free treat, follow these simple safety tips:

halloween tips

Walk Safely

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible.  Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.


  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Healthy Halloween Food Tip:

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.



Periods of Very Heavy Rainfall are Expected to Produce Flash Flooding

October 1, 2015

flood 1

The combination of storms and already soggy ground sets us up for widespread flooding.

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area

 Knowing the difference between a Flood Watch and Flood Warning could actually Save Your Life!

Do you know the difference?

  • Flood/Flash Flood Watch—Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
  • Flood/Flash Flood Warning—Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.


The American Red Cross encourages everyone to get prepared now, before the storm begins by using three simple steps…

Make A Plan
Gather your family members around to develop your plan today.
*If you have children who attend school, make sure you are aware of the schools evacuation route.

Get A Kit      
Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency, like:

  • Water – 1 gallon per person
  • Non – Perishable food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery Powered Radio
  • Extra Clothing and Blankets
  • Cell phones and Chargers
  • Money
  • Important Documents
  • Medications – 7 day supply
  • First Aid kits
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Rain Gear

For more information, please visit:

Stay Informed   
By watching the news and listening to the national weather reports to stay abreast of changing conditions.


Flood Safety Tips:                                                                                                                                                          
If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, you should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Some safety steps to remember include:

  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.

Red Cross Emergency App offers the vital information you need to be prepared : To download search the American Red Cross Emergency App in the Apple App or Google Play Stores



September 14, 2015

The American Red Cross is recruiting Disaster Volunteers in the Mecklenburg County! Register today and become a Red Cross volunteer. Tamrah Charlotte

Red Cross Disaster Volunteer Annie Bynum Reflects Back on 9/11

September 11, 2015

As I reflect back on September 11, 2001 (9/11) I can remember getting that phone call from the Red Cross saying, “Annie we need you now in New York.” The next day, I was packed headed there with no hesitation.

I remember first coming into the city and feeling like I’d stepped into a war zone.  But the shocking reality was, I really had stepped into a war zone.  I see tragedy of this kind on television all the time, but to see it in person, in my own country, was absolutely mind-boggling.

But, we had no time to waste. It was very apparent the need for help. We started working immediately.  My first task was driving the Emergency Response vehicle.  We traveled the streets in the area, providing meals to any victims and responders we encountered. This seems easy, but it was a 12 hours a day process. The need was ever growing because survivors were found at any moment.  For six weeks we had a routine of searching, providing and comforting.

Then I moved to Distribution. Responders in the area weren’t able to leave, and often spent days on site looking for the deceased. We provided these relief team members with fresh clothes and shoes each day before they headed out again to look for the lost. It was here that I spent a few months setting up mobile showers, comfort kits, and food stations.

Eventually this led to me joining the Distribution team that circulated looking for surrounding residents who couldn’t reach our rescue locations. It was a nonstop assignment, and after six months of deployment I was able to leave feeling I did     my duty.

Many times though, during my deployment, it was very hard emotionally.  Some days I would be trying to comfort the hurt, and find myself crying along with them.  I was watching people lose their way of living or loved ones to this attack, and I couldn’t change that for them. What I could do, was provide them with hope. Give them love and show them they      Annie Bynum-1

weren’t alone.

It was a tragic time that will never be forgotten by millions or myself.

But it’s the strength and support each person gave that will last in my mind. And I’m very proud to say I was a part of that Red Cross team.

National Dog Day

August 26, 2015


National Dog Day serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.

Honor your pets today with a little affection and something great to eat!! :)


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