American Red Cross supports
the troops for the holidays

By Staff
special to The Star
Nov. 27, 2003
The holidays are just around the corner, and the American Red Cross is gearing up with an array of options for Americans to show their support for U.S. service members and their families.
Besides responding to disasters, overseeing blood supplies and providing first aid and CPR training, keeping Americans connected with loved ones in the military is another mission of the American Red Cross through its Armed Forces Emergency Services.
This season, the Key Chapter joins nearly 1,000 American Red Cross field units around the world in helping the public bring holiday cheer to U.S. service members and their families.
The organization facilitates emergency communication; mobilizes and deploys Red Cross workers to live and work alongside troops; reaches out to the "changing face" of the military; and provides other social services.
Urgent news of death, serious illness or birth are delivered wherever troops are to the frontlines or on the home front. Since January 2003, demand for American Red Cross services has increased significantly and remains at record levels.
Here are some ways you can help:
Bestow treasures. Treasures for the Troops can offer fun and relaxation for down time on the frontlines. The durable, lightweight, compact and reusable shaving/make-up bag contains "treasures" such as a deck of cards, crossword puzzles, snacks and candy, an electronic pocket game, batteries and a multi-tool. People can sponsor one by giving a $20 donation to the American Red Cross Key Chapter checks should indicate the money is for the Treasures for the Troops program.
Support keeping families connected. Make a financial donation to the Key Chapter so that it can continue emergency communications and deploy workers, outreach and financial support efforts of the family members of career and reservists.
Donate a phone. An estimated 30 million old wireless phones are idle in American homes and businesses. Through the end of the year, Nextel Communications will donate an average of $1.50 per old wireless phones brought into any of its 400 plus retail stores nationwide. Donations benefit American Red Cross services for U.S. military members and their families.
Don't forget those here at home. A great way to take care of a service member is to help take care of his or her loved ones back home. Offers to baby-sit, pick up groceries, do laundry or mow the lawn may be especially appreciated.
Be prepared: Take classes in CPR, first aid and disaster response. Learn mass care feeding, damage assessment and family services. Be a special part of a team that helps respond to immediate emergencies and helping others. Learn to help and save lives in many different ways.
Volunteer. Reach out to Veterans Affairs hospitals and nursing homes, coach children's sports teams, provide meals for the homeless or volunteer for other organizations.