Today marks the 131st anniversary of the American Red Cross founded by Clarissa Harlowe Barton, more commonly referred to as Clara Barton.
This outstanding humanitarian pioneered in positions traditionally held by men. Beginning as a teacher, she later moved into a position in the Patent office of the federal government. During the Civil War, she risked her own life moving through battle fields to provide necessary supplies to soldiers. In addition, Clara recognized these military men as individuals and supported them by writing letters, reading books to the wounded, listening to their struggles, and praying with them. She opened her eyes to their needs and jumped in to help.
After the war, she journeyed to Switzerland to observe the workings of the International Red Cross and returned to the US where she championed for a similar organization here. On May 21, 1881, this became a reality, and the American Red Cross was born. She led the organization for 23 years.
Clara would likely not recognize the organization today, but would be most pleased at its growth. The American Red Cross continues to be one of the foremost philanthropic associations meeting immediate needs during times of crisis. In addition, the group now takes a proactive approach through blood drives and preparedness efforts. They provide information on numerous topics ranging from flu to floods with everything in between. These are easily downloadable in pdf format. Additionally, they have an online store where you can purchase items you might need in case disaster of any magnitude should strike. Are you and your family or business ready? You can take their assessment to see and fill in any necessary gaps with their resources.
Interested to know how they rate among charities? You can use Charity Navigator to do your homework.
Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of our daily lives, yet all around us there are people with needs – some small, some great. Like Clara Barton, you and I can take a proactive approach to make a difference. It begins with awareness and continues as we actively participate to find the resources to fill the gaps. Stay tuned for more.