Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolution

Last year at this time, I asked that everyone make disaster preparedness a priority in 2010. In 2011, let's take it a step further. Get trained. The American Red Cross offers a variety of courses that were created to give you and your loved ones (Fido included) a sense of security no matter where you are. You can enroll in any of our Health & Safety courses by calling 561-3605.

In October the American Red Cross set a goal to train 5 million people in hands-only, a.k.a. "citizen CPR," by the end of 2011. Help us surpass that goal by watching the video below or by enrolling in a full CPR class at your local Red Cross.

Here's to a happy, and very safe, New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the season to serve those who serve

Yesterday, service men and women around the world began receiving cards from the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. The campaign is in its fourth year and was started as a way to send members of the armed forces a little piece of home while they are on base or in a military hospital.

The Fort Knox Service Center has its own way of thanking service members during the holidays through the Santa's Workshop program. The program's mission is to provide toys to military families at Fort Knox facing financial challenges this holiday season.

Beginning in October, the service center accepts applications from military families. Once a family is approved, they are invited to shop at Santa's Workshop where they can choose two brand new toys, a book and stocking stuffers for each child. Each family also receives a board game to encourage family togetherness.

This year, Santa's Workshop provided nearly 500 families with 6,500 toys and 16,000 stocking stuffers. Some of the toys given out included bicycles assembled and donated by Thornton's during the company's annual team-building humanitarian project.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Party & Wintry Mixes

The McKenzie family was left without a home after an apartment fire in November. One month later, they are thankful for what they have and are working hard to return to normalcy.

Monday night’s Holiday Party was a great way to ring in the season. Children and their families, some of whom experienced home fires as recent as last month, visited with Santa and received gifts thanks to the Louisville Professional Firefighters Union Local 345. See more photos from the event on our Flickr page.

Home fires aren’t the only threat to Kentuckiana families. Tonight meteorologists are predicting a “wintry mix”—weather reminiscent of the 2009 ice storm. While experts say it will be nowhere near as extensive, local residents can still prepare for dangerous road conditions and power outages.

To ensure you are prepared for a power outage, print off this checklist. If a power outage calls for the use of a portable generator, read over these safety tips first, and if you must travel, make sure you have a disaster kit in your car in case of an emergency.

For a full list of items to keep in your disaster kit, go to

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gift of Giving at OCMS

Growing up, Oldham County Middle School math teacher Daniel Schulz didn’t have the money to participate in the Angel Tree program, so when the opportunity presented itself, he developed a toy drive program at OCMS in Buckner, KY.

The program allows students to purchase a $5-$10 gift for a child age infant to 12. When the program started over 10 years ago, 86 gifts were donated. This year, under the direction of teachers Erin Sanford, Katie Stephens and the OCMS Student Council, 350 toys were collected and donated to the Oldham County Red Cross Service Center.

The Red Cross will distribute the gifts to qualifying families starting December 15. Dan said that in order to keep the gifts as anonymous as possible, students and school staff do not participate in the distribution phase.

“Every kid has their own imagination of how their present helps somebody,” he said. “They want to help out; it’s just showing them how they can help as kids that’s the big thing.”

OCMS students sort toys donated by their peers.

Students at OCMS also get a chance to work with the Oldham County Red Cross during their holiday food drive. In its 22nd year, the food drive has collected over 450,000 cans for the Red Cross food pantry, and Dan hopes to hit the half million mark this year!

You can support the OCMS food drive by taking part in “Oldham County Community Collection Day” Saturday, Dec. 11. Students will be colleting canned goods for six hours at Wal-Mart and Save-A-Lot in La Grange, KY. Last year the event brought in 3,000 cans. You can also make donations at various OCMS sporting events and student concerts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Most Busiest Time of the Year

Ok, so that may be grammatically incorrect, but so is most busy, and it doesn't have enough syllables. Since there is much going on at the chapter, I've decided to make this post a sort of wrap-up of activities. I imagine the Red Cross looks much like the North Pole during December. Wrapping paper covering the doorways, employees sneaking around masquerading as Santa and, of course, hundreds of toys being stored away for children attending the annual Holiday Party.

Red Cross volunteer Claudette Walker mans the Kmart check out line, while others shop and load up the toys.

Speaking of which, Red Cross workers and members of the Louisville Professional Firefighters Union Local 345 spent Friday morning at the Kmart on Poplar Level Road shopping for all the little girls and boys invited to this year's party. Over 200 children ages 12 and under will be attending the party with their families on Dec. 13. Each family was assisted by the Red Cross during a home fire during this past year. Some families are still in the recovering process, and the toys purchased will help replace belongings lost in the fire.

Sigma Chi fraternity member assists the winning group (Pi Beta Phi) build their fort at Wednesday night's Wrap Up America event.

Red Cross workers were also out and about on Thursday night participating in Wrap Up America at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The event brought in over 2,500 blankets which will be given to organizations assisting the homeless. New blankets will be donated to the Red Cross to use when assisting people affected by disaster. The event also offered our community disaster educators, a.k.a. AmeriCorps, an opportunity to train participating groups in disaster preparedness.

Check out our Flickr page for more photos, and stay tuned for more Red Cross goodies throughout the holiday season.