Southeastern Pa. agency working to raise awareness, support
In honor of the 72nd annual “March is Red Cross Month,” the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) will launch several initiatives, bask in the red glow of select Philadelphia landmarks, and host several events, including its signature Red Ball.
“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to support our mission,” American Red Cross SEPA CEO Renee Cardwell Hughes said. “Because the Red Cross is not a government agency and not funded by the government, we rely on the public’s kindness and generosity to do our work, here at home and around the globe.”
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began a presidential tradition of naming March as National Red Cross Month. At that time, he encouraged Americans to “rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.”
Last year, SEPA responded to more than 730 disasters, assisted nearly 1,100 families (3,293 people) in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, a Red Cross news release said. This winter has been particularly challenging. In January, SEPA responded to 129 disasters, helping 234 adults and 136 kids. This followed a record-setting November and December, when Red Cross responded to 190 disasters, helping 763 people. Record level snows, an ice storm, massive power outages, and a 100 car pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike were just some of the dozens of disasters requiring Red Cross assistance in February, the release said.
On March 8, SEPA will host its 14th Annual Red Ball gala, presented by Independence Blue Cross, at the Please Touch Museum. On March 11, 50 SEPA employees and volunteers will take part in an event honoring the Red Cross in Harrisburg. Later in the month, Philadelphia City Council will recognize the work of the local Red Cross during a ceremony at City Hall. The region’s county councils and commissions also plan similar recognition ceremonies, the release said.
Red Cross flags will fly in Center City Philadelphia, downtown Media and downtown West Chester, and a number of companies will generate awareness with campaigns such as Wawa’s March is Red Cross Month sleeves for its coffee cups. Dozens of SEPTA buses will have March is Red Cross Month messages, and the Delaware River Port Authority will also once again light up the Ben Franklin Bridge in red most of the month, the release said.
“The Red Cross is there to help whenever disaster strikes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no matter the weather or circumstances,” Hughes said. “The lights and flags will be symbolic visual reminders of the vital work the Red Cross does every day that largely goes unnoticed.”
For the week leading up to the March 8 Red Ball, SEPA is inviting its social media community to play a modified game of Capture the Flag. If you see a Red Cross flag in your community, take a photo (creative selfies welcome) and post it with the location to Twitter or to SEPA’s Facebook page; mention @redcrossphilly and use hashtag #redcrossflag. The Red Cross will retweet many, and each photo (up to five) will place the submitter’s name in a drawing for two Main Event Red Ball Tickets. For details on the Red Ball, visit theredball.org.