To the Editor:
This holiday season, the American Red Cross, Capital Area chapter, is urging residents of mid-Missouri to give something that means something and help people in need through a donation to the Red Cross.
People can visit the organization's website and browse through its online holiday giving catalog, selecting from more than 20 symbolic gifts to purchase for, or in honor of, a loved one during the holiday season.
The gifts represent all Red Cross lines of service and include blankets for disaster victims, comfort kits for wounded warriors, swimming lessons for those who want to learn to swim, and vaccinations against measles for children overseas.
A donation will help ensure the Red Cross is able to help people when they need it — when a disaster victim needs food and shelter; when a patient needs blood; when a member of the military needs to get in touch with family.
This has been a busy year for the Red Cross and the Capital Area chapter. During the 2011 fiscal year, chapter volunteers provided disaster services to 904 adults and children in our 21-county service area. Volunteers also assisted in 258 cases involving service to military families.
Across the country, the Red Cross responded to wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres; tornados that destroyed entire towns; and flooding from the Dakotas to the East Coast.
The Red Cross provided assistance to more than 386,000 members of the military and their families, distributed more than 9 million blood products and taught life-saving courses to more than 8 million people.
The public's support during this holiday season will allow the Red Cross to continue to help to those in need.
Mike Flanagan is communications manager with the American Red Cross, Capital Area chapter.