Give Hope for the Holidays
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
In 2021, people in Washington state and across the country faced great emergency needs as the ongoing pandemic exacerbated the challenges related to severe disasters, blood shortages and global conflict.
“Our most vulnerable neighbors are facing unique and pressing struggles when crisis strikes on top of COVID-19,” American Red Cross Northwest Region CEO Alex Dieffenbach said. “This holiday season, join us to provide help and hope in these difficult moments by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets.”
During the holidays, visit redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also learn about volunteer opportunities in their area and give back in honor of American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, whose 200th birthday will be commemorated on Dec. 25.
2021 marked one of the country’s most active years for severe weather—which battered many communities still reeling from last year’s disasters. For thousands of people in need, the Red Cross launched a new major relief effort every 11 days to provide refuge, food and care.
This year, a family displaced by a disaster in the U.S. spent an average of nearly 30 days in a Red Cross-supported emergency shelter. These extended stays were largely due to a lack of savings and community housing shortages—signs that climate-driven disasters are compounding the financial hardships of the pandemic.
Here in the Northwest region, we faced a devastating heat wave, multiple wildfires and, more recently, severe flooding. Our disaster volunteers reacted quickly to provide shelter, comfort and meals to the families displaced by these disasters.
Around the world, massive humanitarian needs emerged in 2021 for a growing number of families displaced by the overlapping challenges of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change. This year, at the request of federal government partners, Red Cross workers from the Northwest region and across the country distributed more than 2.1 million essential items—like blankets, diapers, medicine and toys—for Afghan evacuees arriving on U.S. military bases and unaccompanied children seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
To meet the increasing needs of hospital patients, the Red Cross distributed 250,000 more blood products in 2021 than last year, until the Delta variant began to spread in August. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34 percent drop in new blood donors from last year—one of the largest year-to-year decreases and one that could threaten essential medical care for patients. Locally, the Northwest Red Cross Region has experienced a 31 percent decrease in new blood donors this year.
As a result of low blood donor turnout in recent months, the Red Cross is heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in more than a decade at this time of year. Blood donations are desperately needed now to meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
All those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec.16 will automatically be entered for the chance to win a private screening for the winner and 50 of their guests of the epic new film The Matrix Resurrections. Plus, those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec. 16 will also get a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon.
Abby Lutz is the regional communications manager for the American Red Cross. Additional disaster-related services services may be found at the Whatcom County Library System website, /www.wcls.org/community-resources/