Written by Amy Yen, volunteer contributor
Over the past seven days, we’ve witnessed an unusually destructive and devastating storm strike our nation. As always, the Red Cross is responding with gusto. To date, we’ve served more than one million meals; deployed every available Emergency Response Vehicle in the Red Cross; and are still providing safe shelter to more than 4,000 people. Although “normal” life has halted for many of our fellow citizens as they work to rebuild their homes and lives, in many ways life does go on. An example of this is our nation’s Presidential election this week.
While politics tend to highlight our differing opinions and beliefs, there are some things all parties support, such as the Red Cross’s mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. We are proud to be able to carry out our mission while being a politically neutral organization, built on our fundamental principles which prevent us from taking sides or engaging in any controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
Although the American Red Cross was chartered by the United States Congress, it is not a government agency and does not receive regular federal funding to carry out its programs and services. It is an entirely independent nonprofit organization primarily funded from voluntary public contributions.
Whoever wins the election this week will join a long line of Red Cross supporters. Since 1913, the President of the United States has traditionally served as an honorary chairperson of the American Red Cross. In fact, the Red Cross has been supported by every president since Woodrow Wilson.
“Presidents of the United States have called upon the American Red Cross time and again,” said President Obama while proclaiming Red Cross Month this past March. “It remains a reflection of the compassion and generosity central to our national identity.”
This is one of those times. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, both Governor Romney and President Obama encouraged supporters to donate blood and funds to Red Cross relief efforts and President Obama visited our National Headquarters. So regardless of who wins this Election Day, the Red Cross will be grateful to continue to receive their support!
To learn more about the American Red Cross’s unique relationship with the federal government, visit RedCross.org. Happy Election Day!