Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who is your hero?

The deadline for nominating heroes for the eighth annual Heroes Breakfast is this Friday, January 29! Each year, the Greater Chicago Red Cross honors local people for acts of great bravery, dedication and service to the community at our Heroes Breakfast which will take place on April 14, 2010. To see clips from last year's breakfast visit http://www.youtube.com/chicagoredcross#p/u/14/C0PRS02JrsI

“We have many heroes among us. Their courage and good deeds solidify the mission of the Red Cross and help us carry it out,” said Fran Maher, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. “The Heroes Breakfast is our way of honoring these exceptional individuals who, in addition to their courageous response efforts, inspire others to impart good will on their community.”

To learn more about how to nominate a hero or for a list of hero categories visit www.chicagoredcross.org/heroes.

Who is your hero?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mary, a 7 year old from Hinsdale, IL raised over $700 this weekend at her Bake Sale for Haiti! Her family, friends and teachers all pitched in to bake treats that were sold on Saturday at the Community House in Hinsdale. She is truly an inspiration as are all of you who have donated!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our call volume is still really high, so the final tally for the Chicago Helps Haiti Telethon won't be in until tomorrow morning. Which is a good thing :) We have definitely raised more than $2.6 million though! This was a huge success, and we want to thank everyone who helped or donated!!
15 minutes left to call and donate to the Red Cross through the Chicago Helps Haiti Telethon!! 1-877-565-5000!
We've reached $2.6 million in donations!!! Amazing effort by everyone involved!
Check out these links to stories from other Red Cross volunteers in Haiti. The work being done there by our volunteers is so important and the people of Haiti are so inspiring. Thank you all for your continued support!



$2,555,133 is our current total! ONLY ONE HOUR LEFT! Call or tell your friends and family to call! 877-565-5000. HUGE thanks to our volunteers and our callers!

Chicago Red Cross volunteers waiting the second flight of Haitians to arrive at O'Hare!
We've reached $2.5 million!!! Amazing work Chicago. We are so grateful!
The total is now $2,393,126! And only 2 hours left- This is the final push! The number is 1-877-565-5000. Call to donate if you haven't, or spread the word to family and friends! We really appreciate the support!

Photo of the icecream branded especially for the Chicago Helps Haiti Telethon! Our volunteers are enjoying it right now in between calls :)
WOW! $2,312,571 in donations as of 6:30pm tonight! This is awesome. Keep spreading the word on your facebook and twitter pages. Make it your goal to tell 2 other people to call before 11pm! 1-877-565-5000
We are officially over $2 million in donations! Amazing! Let's keep up the momentum Chicago!
We are now at almost $1.8 million in donations to help Haiti! Great job Chicago! BIG thank you to all of our callers :) Keep it coming! Call 1-877-565-5000 and give whatever you can.

Chicago Helps Haiti Telethon is Today!

Give now at (877) 565-5000 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org/haiti

Leave us a comment! Did you give? What inspires you about the relief effort?

11:57 a.m. It's almost lunchtime! And we've reached $1,517,513!!! Keep up the great work Chicago.

11:41 a.m. Time's flying and the gifts are pouring in! We have a new matching gift parternship with CDW. They will match individual donations that are $1,000 or more, with a total committment of $100,000! Let's get there!

9:20 a.m. We just topped a million!! We're at $1,212,336!! Keep it up, Chicago

8:30 a.m. New total: $841,249!! The Red Cross has 400 workers on the ground in Haiti, in addition to thousands of local volunteers. Reports now that there may be 2 million left homeless.

8:13 a.m. Sorry we're a little late getting on the live blogging wagon, but we're here now! The Chicago media have been at Hewitt all morning broadcasting from our call center and we've raised $810,404 so far! That's amazing! The McCormick Foundation is matching gifts at 50 cents on the dollar, up to $500,000. The gift isn't yet reflected in the total, so let's hit $1 million and see it spike!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our Relief Workers with Haitians at O'Hare

UPDATE: We have beautiful, professional photos like the one above from O'Hare last night, taken by Gerry Holmes, available on our Flickr page here. Hooray! Captions coming soon. (WGN just announced it's National Hugging Day. How appropriate.)

Many of you have heard that the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is part of the welcoming team at O'Hare tonight for a flight of people who've arrived from Haiti. We were ready with blankets, mittens, food, and our disaster mental health volunteers--people who are trained to help disaster victims cope with the immense stress they're facing.

Here are some pics from inside the airport tonight (Do you spot Gov. Quinn? He's moving fast!). You can read the press release with full details here and keep up all night with our awesome volunteer who's tweeting from the Red Cross response at O'Hare, @HanaYi. Here are some choice tweets from her earlier in the night:

@HanaYi: Interview of woman-explains the aftershocks, today is the first big meal since the quakes and raves about Chicago's provided care #chihelpsHaiti

@HanaYi: Just held a 2 month old baby boy named Resu. Looking to locate some baby formula.

Creating a serving system-taking groups to get food from the kitchen after they wrap up in jackets/scarfs/hats/gloves..

(Then Hana lost her contact lens)

@HanaYi: Still blind as a bat-but seeing more than I have ever seen #Haiti

More to come...

Chicago Helps Haiti: Live Blogging All Day!

The Chicagoland community will come together on Thursday, January 21 to give to the American Red Cross as we help the people of Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated their country last week.

The Chicago Helps Haiti media relief drive begins at 5 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Nearly every TV and radio station in our area will be promoting this fundraising effort throughout the day. You can help too, by giving via phone or online, and sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook or Twitter, and by asking others to give.

To give from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CALL 1 (877) 565-5000 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org/haiti

You can also text from your mobile phone. Send the word HAITI to 90999 to give $10 to Haiti relief.

We’ll be posting content here on this blog throughout the day. We’ll get news from our phone bank, which has been generously donated and staffed by the great people at Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire.

We’ll also be posting facts and inspiring content about the Haiti relief effort from across the Red Cross network, re-posting your insightful comments and documenting what we’re sure will be a tremendous outpouring of generosity.

Stay tuned throughout the day as we blog live here!

Photo caption: Michaelle Fleamvil carries supplies distributed by the American Red Cross at Croix Desprez. She is helped by Red Cross worker Matt Marek. January 20. Photo: Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross. For more photos visit www.flickr.com/americanredcross

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do you know your Chicago fire trivia?!

Think you’re a trivia buff? Well we’re challenging you to test your knowledge about Chicagoland and its history with fire! Plus, learn a little more about what the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago does!

The Great Chicago Fire burned during October of _____ destroying about 4 square miles of Chicago and killing hundreds in its path.
a. 1892 b. 1871 c. 1902 d. 1805

What Chicago building was NOT spared during the blaze of the Great Chicago Fire?
a. Old St. Patrick’s Church b. The O’Leary’s home c. Chicago Water Tower d. Palmer House

Which of these is the higher ranking official in the Chicago Fire Department?
a. Battalion Chief b. Lieutenant c. Fire Engineer d. Captain

In the Chicagoland region, the American Red Cross responds to approximately how many residential fires a year?
a. 100 b. 500 c. 1,000 d. 5,000

At which school in the city of Chicago did a fire occur and spur reform of fire codes for school fire safety regulations around the U.S.?
a. Walter Payton b. Our Lady of Angels School c. New London School d. UIC

What month is typically celebrated as Fire Prevention Month?
a. January b. March c. November d. October

What is the name of the fire prevention program ran by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago?

a. Team Firestopper b. Stop Fires Chicago c. The Extinguishers

Answers: 1: b; 2: d; 3: a; 4: c; 5: b; 6: d; 7: a

Fire Safety Tip of the Week: Practice a fire escape plan with the members of your household. Remember to find at least two exits out of every room and create a meeting place for all household members to go if a fire does threaten your home!

Fire safety tips are brought to you by Team Firestopper! We’re working to stop fires before they start in your community! For more information or fire tips, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/tfs or www.redcross.org/homefires!

Sources: Chicago Fire Department, American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How well do you know your smoke detectors?!

Installing and maintaining your smoke detector could be one of the most important things you do this year to keep your family safe. Take the quiz below to see how well you know how to use and maintain your smoke detectors!

1. Where are your smoke detectors located?
Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Make sure to have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your house (including the basement).

2. Have you changed the batteries in your smoke detectors?
The batteries in your smoke detector should be replaced yearly, or as soon as you hear a low-battery warning which usually sounds like a “chirping” noise. NEVER remove the battery from or disable a smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm is sounding “nuisance alarms”, try locating it further from kitchens or bathrooms.

3. How old are your smoke detectors?
Smoke alarms DO wear out. Replace your alarms every 10 years to ensure that it is working properly.

4. Are you familiar with the sound of your smoke detectors?
Teach children and household members what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it. Plan regular fire drills to practice your escape plan ensuring everyone in your home knows exactly what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.

5. Have you tested your smoke detectors lately?
Smoke detectors should be tested monthly. Make sure you know what condition your detector is in! It could save your life!

If you answered these questions correctly, thanks for being a Firestopper in your community!

These fire safety tips are brought to you by Team Firestopper! We’re working to stop fires before they start in your community! For more information or fire tips, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/tfs or www.redcross.org/homefires!

Sources: American Red Cross, U.S. Fire Administration*, and the National Fire Protection Association

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What I didn't know...

In honor of my 5th month here at the Red Cross, I wanted to share with you 5 things that I didn’t know about the Red Cross before I started working here. Hopefully, I have included some things that you may not have known.

1. The American Red Cross has been around since 1881, making the organization 129 years old!

2. A very important figure in the history of the Red Cross is Henry Dunant. His book A Memory of Solferino inspired the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1963. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.

3. The American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces operates an around the clock world wide communication service, allowing the family members of service men and women to reach their deployed relative in case of an emergency.

4. Our Chapter has an Auxiliary Board and Society, comprised of young active professionals that organize fundraising events and support the Greater Chicago Red Cross.

5. The Red Cross has a “Safe and Well” website where individuals who have been affected by a disaster can register as “safe and well”. This site notifies their family and friends of their well being.

Submitted by Rachael Garcia, Resource Development

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Team Firestopper - Turning Up the Heat!

Did you know that the number of residential fires increases in the winter? In fact, residential fires peak in December, January, and February. Why? Nearly half of American families use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm. And, these items lead to a greater risk of residential fires.

We know that you want to turn up the heat in your home, so here are a few tips to help you do so safely!

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Try using window film insulation on drafty windows instead of things like space heaters to keep your house warm.
  • Have heating equipment and cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person.

And remember… smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.

These fire safety tips are brought to you by Team Firestopper! We’re working to stop fires before they start in your community! For more information or fire tips, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/tfs or www.redcross.org/homefires!

Sources: American Red Cross, U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Fire Protection Association

Monday, January 04, 2010

This MLK Day, "everybody can be great because anybody can serve..."

Home. It's a simple concept really, one that goes beyond four walls and a roof overhead. Home is the idea that we have a place where we belong, are loved, and feel safe. It is something that most of us take for granted, but for the 3.5 million Americans who are homeless each year, home is an idea and not a reality.

The Grace House Shelter in Decatur, IL currently houses women who are working hard to get back on their feet. These women are mothers, sisters, daughters and wives trying to regain control. They do not consider themselves homeless, but rather women living in a "non-traditional home." They are full of hope for the future, though their surroundings are bleak.

The AmeriCorps members of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago are working to make this non-traditional house a home. This MLK Day, January 18th, we'll be renovating Grace House.

Please help us give these women the home they need to get their lives back on track. Help us make their house a safe, loving, comforting place. This MLK Day, help us restoring grace to Grace House.

To find out what you can do to help, click here or e-mail americorps2010@yahoo.com
Dr. King once said that "everybody can be great because anybody can serve..."
To find other ways to serve this MLK Day, click here!