Red Cross helps in the community every day

March 12, 2010

Following the devastating earthquake this past January in Haiti, the American Red Cross worked to turn despair into hope. At the Red Cross of Central Maryland we witnessed an incredible outpouring of public support for our relief efforts. Individuals and groups ranging from area churches, local schools and corporations all opened their hearts and their wallets so the Red Cross could provide medical assistance, clean drinking water, food and shelter to the people of Haiti when they needed it most.

While we are still on the ground working in Haiti, we are also hard at work in our community every day serving the needs of local families. These services usually go unnoticed by all except the ones in need of our help. Nearly three times a day, Red Cross of Central Maryland volunteers provide area families with food, shelter, clothing and other essential help after a disaster.

For example, during the height of the region's recent record snow fall, it was widely reported that Red Cross volunteers assisted residents seeking shelter from the storm. What was not reported were the numerous times during the blizzards that Red Cross volunteers braved treacherous conditions to assist local families who were experiencing yet another type of catastrophe -- home fires. These individual disasters strike families in Central Maryland more than twice a day.

Each day the Red Cross also provides emergency communications to military personnel and their families, teaches life saving training in First Aid and CPR, collects blood for area hospitals and offers disaster preparedness education for our local community organizations, businesses and schools. Your local Red Cross is more than you know.

March is Red Cross Month, and I am proud to celebrate the work and support of my neighbors. Your help is needed for the American Red Cross and its volunteers to help save lives or rebuild lives that have been shattered by disaster -- whether it is down the street, across the country or around the world.

Peter Rosenwald, Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the board of the American Red Cross of Central Maryland.

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