Get to know your Red Cross

Written by Rebecca Potts

The words “Red Cross” prompt an array of thoughts, images and emotions for each of us.

For military personnel, those words and the cross itself may evoke thoughts of neutrality, humanity and comfort. For survivors of natural disasters, the Red Cross symbolizes hope and safety.

For many, myself included, those words are commonly associated with a blood donation. As a regular blood donor, and someone who volunteered to assist with blood drives periodically throughout my undergraduate career, I cannot help but see the crimson cross and think of that aspect of the organization.

Another association is the Red Cross’ involvement in aiding victims of natural disasters; most memorable are those affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When government bureaucracy failed the citizens of New Orleans, the Red Cross was able to mobilize and lend a hand to those displaced and devastated by the storm. Although blood donation and natural disaster rescue efforts are incredibly important, a closer look into this organization reflects a vast number of community outreach programs.

For a bit of background information, I am a graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies at UNC-Charlotte. As a result of a graduate project designed to assist the Red Cross in the future, I have gained a great deal of insight into and appreciation for the organization.

One thing people don’t realize is that the majority of manpower supporting Red Cross operations is derived from volunteers; hence a former Red Cross motto: “neighbors helping neighbors.”

In addition to blood drives, the Red Cross offers a plethora of services for the community; including transportation for those in need of a ride to a medical appointment, support for victims of house fires and emergency services training. With an introduction that seems to only scrape the surface of the Red Cross’ operations, it is obvious that the Red Cross volunteer is selfless and devoted to helping others.

There are countless opportunities for members of the community to support the local Red Cross chapter by offering time, energy and funds. Find out how you can do your part today

Rebecca Potts is a graduate student at UNC-Charlotte. She is currently working with her class on developing a crisis communication plan for the Greater Carolinas Chapter.

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