By CORALIE MATAYOSHI
March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross wants to thank all who help their community by giving of themselves: our volunteers, financial supporters, and those who take our safety training classes.
The Hawaii Red Cross is on call 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to disasters and provide emergency communication between deployed military service members and their families. We also teach critical lifesaving skills like first aid, CPR, babysitting and nurse-aide training.
Last fiscal year, the Red Cross in Hawaii County responded to 13 disasters on the Big Island, helping those affected get back on their feet and start rebuilding their lives after tragedy struck. We provided about 200 certificates in free disaster training courses to volunteers interested in responding to emergencies and reached 2,275 individuals in the community with disaster preparedness information.
We also taught critical skills like first aid, CPR, and aquatics to almost 900 individuals in Hawaii County as part of our mission of saving lives.
Red Cross volunteers care deeply about the community and help us further the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross on Hawaii Island. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers are on-call 24/7 to help those in need. All disaster response and training are provided free of charge.
With the threat of an influenza pandemic, terrorist attack and major disasters, the American Red Cross is more relevant and necessary than ever before. It is not “if,” but “when” a major disaster in Hawaii will occur, and when it does, we must be able to stand on our own until outside reinforcements arrive. Having trained volunteers on island, ready to respond to disasters, is critical.
There are many ways the people of Hawaii County can support the Red Cross during March.
— Awesome Online Auction (March 1-16): Shop ‘til you drop at www.hawaiiredcross.org. Great deals for a great cause. You can bid on airline travel to the West Coast and Neighbor Islands; hotel stays in London, Seoul, Beijing, Bora Bora, San Francisco, Kaanapali, Princeville, Lanai; a Toyota Prius; stand-up paddleboard; restaurants; theatre; golf, jewelry and more.
— Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (March 13-19): Will donate $1 to the Hawaii Red Cross for each purchase of the following items, nine-piece Pizza Sliders at regular price and Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Box Meal.
— Hats Off event (March 16-17): Our annual fundraising event where volunteers will take their “hats off” to the American Red Cross and ask the public to fill their hats with donations. Volunteers will collect donations at Walmart and KTA Keawe on Saturday, March 16, and at Walmart on Sunday, March 17. Volunteers from the Lions Clubs, Kamehameha School, UHH School of Pharmacy, UHH School of Nursing, Rotary Clubs and Bank of Hawaii will be assisting. Please kokua and give what you can.
— Aloha Petroleum (March and April): Will have customer donation canisters at their stores. All collections will go to the Hawaii Red Cross.
The Red Cross also encourages everyone in March to develop a preparedness plan for the household, become a volunteer, or take a first aid/CPR training. For more information, to volunteer, or register for a class, please visit www.hawaiiredcross.org.
Your donations are much needed and appreciated especially in these tough economic times. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide our humanitarian services to your community. Mahalo for your support!
Coralie Matayoshi is chief executive officer of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross.