For over 70 years, March has been designated as national Red Cross Month to recognize the critical services this humanitarian organization provides to the community. During March, we want to encourage everyone to take part in the Red Cross mission of saving lives and giving hope to those in need, especially in celebrating their 100th anniversary! To get involved, take a Red Cross class to learn lifesaving skills, volunteer to help those in need, get prepared for disasters, or make a donation.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Red Cross. The Hawaii Red Cross has about 3,000 volunteers statewide and over 95 percent of our services are provided by dedicated volunteers. We are always looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels who can assist in our vital work. Red Cross volunteers not only respond to house fires, but teach lifesaving skills, support our military members in the community, and much more. Here are some examples of our volunteer roles:
o Office worker
o Nurses and mental health workers
o Military base volunteer
o Human Animal Bond Program volunteer
o High School Red Cross Club member
o Youth Pillowcase Presenter
o Home Fire team member
Go to redcross.org/Hawaii to learn more about the different opportunities.
When disaster strikes, the Red Cross provides not only food, clothing, and shelter but crisis counseling for those who have lost a loved one or everything they owned. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and respond to disasters in Hawaii every four days. Emergencies can happen at a moment’s notice, so we encourage everyone to be prepared!
Here are some steps you can take today to get prepared for emergencies:
o Create a disaster plan with your family and put together a disaster kit (sleeping bag, food, water, medications, toiletries, important documents, etc.)
o Download Free Red Cross Apps: Download our free Emergency App, which includes First Aid, Pet First Aid, and tips on what to do before, during and after disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. Put instant life-saving information at your fingertips in times of emergency.
o Check your smoke alarms and practice your fire drills: Working smoke alarms cut the risk of death in half. In a fire, you only have two minutes to escape, so practicing your escape plan is vital.
o Learn a lifesaving skill: take a Red Cross CPR or First Aid class and learn how to save a life! Register for classes at redcross.org/takeaclass
o Evaluate your organization’s preparedness plan: Ready Rating is a free and easy web-based program that allows businesses, schools, and organizations to assess their disaster readiness. Immediate feedback on you organizations’ strengths and areas in need of improvement help guide you in creating an online emergency plan. Go to readyrating.org for more information.
We are not a government agency yet we are chartered by Congress to respond to every disaster that happens in the United States (70,000 per year, or one every eight minutes) and provide emergency communication between deployed military service members and their loved ones in times of crisis. We work side by side with firefighters, police, civil defense, and military to fulfill this humanitarian mission, yet do not receive any funding from the federal or state government for disaster operations. Instead, we rely on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide critical services to our community.
Here are some ways that you can donate today:
• Have some pizza! Papa John’s has selected the Hawaii Red Cross as the “Charity of the Month” for March in honor of Red Cross month. During the entire month of March, you can use the code ‘ALOHA’ when ordering pizza online and a $1 from each order will go to the Hawaii Red Cross. Also, throughout the entire month of March, purchase an Aloha Carry-Out Card for $10 and $7 will go to the Hawaii Red Cross! The Aloha Carry-Out Card is good for buy one get one free pizza, all year long.
• Go to redcross.org/Hawaii or call 739-8109 to make a direct financial donation
Like our Hawaii Red Cross Facebook page and visit our page each Tuesday throughout March to participate in weekly Preparedness quizzes. In partnership with HMSA, each week, we will be giving away prize packs that include items like a first aid kit, water bottle, towel, backpack and other fun things to the first three participants who answer our quiz questions correctly!
Coralie Chun Matayoshi has been the CEO of the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter since 2003. She is an attorney who previously served as Executive Director of the Hawaii State Bar Association for 13 years. She is a graduate of Punahou School and earned a political science degree, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley, and juris doctor degree from Hastings College of the Law. She currently serves on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.