“The giving season,” “the most wonderful time of the year,” or simply “the holidays.” These are all phrases used to describe the time between Halloween and New Year’s when our thoughts turn to caring, sharing and celebrating with those near and dear to us. If you’re like me, sometimes the joy of the season is overshadowed by the “X-number of shopping days left until ....”
Another phrase that comes to mind this time of year is that “it’s the thought that counts.” The American Red Cross did some thinking. We thought and then discussed “how to give something that means something.” Our thoughts grew and became an idea — one that enables both the gift-giver and the receiver to experience the joy of giving.
Many charities offer meaningful giving opportunities including the American Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog. Also consider giving the gift of time by becoming a volunteer (redcross.org/volunteer) or giving the gift of life by donating blood (redcrossblood.org).
This year the American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana helped hundreds of times each day in a multitude of ways. When a house burns down, when a family needs to contact a deployed service member in an emergency, when a child needs a blanket and a hug after disaster strikes, when a mom wants to learn CPR or a cancer patient needs a blood transfusion — the Red Cross is there.
During the summer wildfires, we opened nine shelters in Idaho and Montana, providing temporary housing to 362 individuals as well as long term recovery assistance in Kamiah. We also opened three feeding sites, and we provided 3,052 meals and snacks to the people who were impacted by the wildfires. In addition, we responded to 92 other emergencies in our region, the majority of which were homes fires, helping a total of 318 individuals since July 1.
So ... will you join me in giving help and hope to those in need this year?
NOTE: The American Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/idaho. We are grateful for those companies that generously support the American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana, including Bodybuilding.com, Maverick Stores, AmeriBen/IEC Group, Holland & Heart LLP, Simplot, Key Bank, Melaleuca, Regence Blue Shield of Idaho, Servpro. To learn more, visit redcross.org.
Nicole Irwin is the regional CEO of American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana.