The American Red Cross, otherwise known as ARS, was founded by visionary leader Clara Barton in 1881. She was inspired by the work of the international Red Cross while she was in Europe during the Franco- Prussian War of 1870-1871. She was so inspired that she brought the model back to the United Stated and led the organization through its first domestic and international relief missions, including assisting the U. S. military during the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The Red Cross was chartered by the United States Congress to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same. ” The Charter is unique to the Red Cross because it assigns duties and obligations to the nation, to disaster survivors, and to the people who generously support their work through donations.
Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s immediate emergency needs caused by disaster. When disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and emotional health service to address basic human needs and assist individuals and families in resuming their normal daily activities independently. The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers like fire fighters and police, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps them access other vailable resources.
Each year, the American Red Cross immediately responds to about 70,000 natural and man-made disasters in the U. S. , ranging from fires to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents and explosions. People count on the Red Cross to help them in their darkest hour. In turn, the support of donors makes it possible for the Red Cross to fulfill its humanitarian mission. They are deeply grateful for the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations who invest in the Red Cross.