JANUARY 5, 1954
HYDE PARK, Monday—The first of the year seems a good time to write a column on the Red Cross. The 1954 Red Cross campaign will soon be coming along and all of us who are not life members will be asked to join again.
The Red Cross as everyone knows is a semi-official organization but it depends on the work of volunteers very largely to achieve its results. There are 100 volunteers for every paid member of the Red Cross staff. Mr. Roland Harriman in writing me about this year's campaign said something which I think expresses the spirit of the Red Cross. It is "people helping people."
Even though the shooting war in Korea is over, the Red Cross work must go on there or our soldiers would feel themselves forgotten. Twenty-four hundred national Red Cross staff workers gave their services last year to the armed forces and veterans. This included field directors and hospital workers and they teamed with a monthly average of 13,000 home service workers in Red Cross chapters who were helping not only the servicemen but their families in times of trouble. Some 40 percent of the Red Cross' annual budget, or over 36 million dollars, was expended last year for the armed services and veterans. There is no reason to suppose that these services will be any less needed in the coming year.
Everybody knows that the blood donation program must go on. The Red Cross doesn't meet all the blood needs of the nation but last year it supplied over 3,000 hospitals and, in addition, in cooperating with community blood banks 2,329,600 donations of blood were collected for national defense. In addition, 9,000,000 cc. of gamma globulin, to help in the fight against polio, were turned over to defense mobilization for distribution between January 1st and December 31st of 1953.
We are all familiar with the fact that the Red Cross is called upon in any disaster which requires emergency action. They give financial assistance, food, clothing, shelter, medical and nursing care and usually are the first organization on the spot. After disasters caused by flood or fire or any of the other horrors that may fall upon a community, the rehabilitation phase of rebuilding and refurnishing homes and the providing of long term medical care for the critically injured is one of the Red Cross' jobs which consumes about 70 cents of every dollar set aside for disaster relief. Last year 24,500 families were helped by the Red Cross which spent nearly 5,500,000 dollars in more than 300 disaster operations that were undertaken.
The Red Cross also gives free courses in first aid and in water safety. Millions of people have been trained through these courses in schools, colleges, business and industry. Members of the fire department and the state and municipal police help in this training which is part of the Red Cross safety program which also trains nurses and provides nursing services.
In thinking of Red Cross work, one must always include the Junior Red Cross because this organization of young people carries on a valuable program of aid to children in other lands. When they come to tell you about the Red Cross and to ask for your membership, welcome them because none of us knows when we will be in need of the services rendered by the Red Cross.