March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands (ARCVI) asks everyone to be a hero for families in the community by becoming a volunteer, passing on the knowledge of preparedness, and helping families impacted by disasters.
More than 75 years ago, March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission. All U.S. presidents since Roosevelt have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize the organization and its workforce powered by more than 90 percent volunteers.
The history is deeper in the Virgin Islands where Red Cross has been present in the islands prior to 1917 and establishing the first public library on St. Thomas in December 1920.
“We celebrate Red Cross Month this March as we honor our volunteers that provide hope, comfort and relief to families in need every day,” said John Duck, executive director of the Red Cross Virgin Islands. “March is a great time to recognize the mission of the Red Cross and all the programs and services we are implementing in our community,” he said.
In the V.I., the Red Cross Long-Term Recovery Program continues to focus on assisting the communities and organizations they serve, such as local farmers and the health services sector, installing free smoke detectors and educating the youth on emergency preparedness.
This month, ARC-VI highlights its Youth Preparedness Project (K to 12 graders) through three programs. Teen Prep is part of a pilot project launched by the National American Red Cross to educate students on the importance of local hazard preparedness. On Friday, March 15, the ARC-VI will host a Teen Preparedness Presentation to 6th graders at the Lew Muckle Elementary School on St. Croix.
Every day, volunteers help someone every eight minutes in the U.S., the Red Cross connects with a family who has lost everything to a home fire or other disaster—the roof over their heads, their clothes, their most cherished possessions. 2018 was no exception — and the need continues today. Following hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, more than 500 volunteer heroes worked around the clock to deliver urgent relief and care in people’s darkest hours in the territory. In 2018, ARC-VI deployed V.I. volunteers to assist in Florida for Hurricane Michael and to North Carolina for Hurricane Florence.
Volunteer, learn lifesaving skills or donate. To #help1family on American Red Cross Giving Day.
Learn more about how to help by visiting www.redcross.org/USVI. Become a volunteer by helping families affected by disasters and installing lifesaving smoke alarms to keep neighbors safe from home fires.
In some areas, volunteers can also provide emergency assistance for military members and veterans or help reconnect families separated by international conflict. Or make a financial donation on March 27 — American Red Cross Giving Day — donate at www.redcross.org/givingday.