Guest Blogger: Paula Montgomery, Executive Director, American Red Cross’ Rhode Island Chapter, on the Importance of Donating and Volunteering

At Alex and Ani, we are committed to giving back in multiple ways through our Charity by Design division. Whether through volunteering through our Employee Engagement program, collecting items for various drives, or creating exclusive designs to benefit charitable partners, we aim to make a difference in the lives of others every single day through the influential relationships we have with the non-profit community.

March is Red Cross Month, and we are thrilled to welcome Paula Montgomery, Executive Director of American Red Cross’ Rhode Island Chapter, as our guest blogger. Read on to learn about the amazing impact our partner, the American Red Cross, has on a local, national, and international level and how you can contribute in many different ways.

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March is Red Cross Month, an observation proclaimed nationally by the president every year, since Franklin Roosevelt first did so in 1943.

When President Roosevelt made that first proclamation, the United States was at war. Red Cross workers were with our troops, offering comforts of home and communications links. At home, the Red Cross held blood drives to support the medical needs of the military. Other home front activities included a massive mobilization to make knitted items for soldiers and to train people in emergency first aid skills. Annual Roll Calls raised funds to support the massive effort, including the costs to prepare and ship care packages to prisoners of war. Service to the Armed Forces, disaster relief, blood collection and safety instruction made the work of the Red Cross vital to the American people and worthy of recognition.

Today, those important Red Cross services continue and have evolved to meet the changing needs of our nation. So, when President Obama issued this year’s Red Cross Month proclamation, the recognition of our important place in the nation’s fabric continues to resonate.

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Every second of every day, someone is assisted by the American Red Cross. We respond to a disaster every eight minutes. We train and prepare 20,000 people each day. We provide emergency assistance to 380 military families every day. And 6,000 times each day, someone receives a transfusion of Red Cross blood.

We do this work with donated dollars, donated blood and the donated time of tens of thousands of volunteers.

More than 96% of the American Red Cross workforce is volunteers. They are the everyday heroes who provide comfort to someone displaced by disaster or to a military family trying to contact a service member during an emergency. They are the skilled instructors who provide lifesaving training. And they are the friendly faces who greet you at blood drives. They are the people who help us direct 91 cents of every dollar donated is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

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Those donations from the public and from generous community partners like Alex and Ani through Charity by Design are at work in communities every day. Support from Alex and Ani has helped us respond here in their home state of Rhode Island, where we brought help and hope to hundreds of families forced from their homes by disasters last year. And their support has helped neighbors across the country, including the millions hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Seventeen thousand Red Cross disaster workers provided more than 74,000 overnight shelter stays, more than 17 million meals and snacks and more than 113,000 emotional support and health contacts in the wake of the storm. Our work continues, providing long-term recovery assistance to help people rebuild their lives, homes and communities.

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I hope that you will help us to celebrate Red Cross Month by supporting our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Please help us fulfill that mission. Make a donation. Volunteer your time. Give blood. Also, please take a moment to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the life changing and life saving work your American Red Cross does every day of the year.

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This post was written by Brendon Cunha