“You must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.”
Our work to put Red Cross founder Clara Barton’s words into practice is constant globally, nationally and locally.
Some of our Services to the Armed Forces staff have deployed to countries around Ukraine to support the emergency communications needs of U.S. troops. Relief efforts after tornadoes in Kentucky and wildfires in Colorado included some of your neighbors offering their help in those states. Red Cross staff and volunteers, including three Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) employees, have also been busy right here in Kansas. They offered shelter and assistance when windstorms and wildfires left thousands of Kansans homeless or without power for days. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and weather, they support successful blood drives as we address a national blood crisis. They provide hope and comfort to people who lost everything in home fires.
Our mission wouldn’t be possible without these community heroes, including members of the BCBSKS Disaster Response Team. During our annual Red Cross Month celebration in March, we honor their commitment to help individuals and families in need. This tradition started almost 80 years ago with a proclamation by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and each president since has followed it.
The BCBSKS Disaster Response Team has been a valued partner of our organization since 2013. The individuals comprising this cadre of trained employee volunteers are a critical component of our ability to respond at a moment’s notice whenever disaster strikes within your service area throughout the state. This team provides a safety net within our volunteer work force that enables us to be there when help can’t wait. Whether it is assisting with operating a shelter for displaced residents or distributing clean-up kits to residents following a tornado or flood, the Disaster Response Team is capable of providing immediate care, compassion, and hope to all clients impacted by disaster.
And now the reach of the Disaster Response Team has extended beyond the capital area. On July 1, 2021 the 60 counties in the Western Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross merged with the 18 counties of the Kansas Capital Area to create the newly formed Greater Kansas Area Chapter. This realignment of chapter territories created an opportunity for the delivery of our humanitarian mission to be more equitable with our counterparts at the Wichita chapter so that we have a more even distribution of disaster responses and volunteer engagement. It has been a seamless transition.
Today, our work of the American Red Cross is powered by 90% volunteers, along with generous financial and blood donors, community partners, and people trained in vital health and safety skills. This month and always, we salute you for making our work and mission possible to Kansas residents. We are so grateful for your partnership.
Jane Blocher, Executive Director
Greater Kansas Area Chapter