Give Back: Doing Good Year-Round

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Guest blogger: Lindsay V., Communications Coordinator / Compass Rose Benefits Group

Being charitable is very popular over the holiday season because that is when most people are reminded how lucky they are—the holidays tend to bring out their charitable side. But, what about volunteering during the other months of the year? Charities and non-profit organizations need help then, too; maybe even more so because they’re not getting an influx of volunteers. Continue reading

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American Red Cross Month

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The American Red Cross responds to an estimated 70,000 disasters in the United States every year – both big and small.  The organization also provides 24-hour support to the military, veterans and their families in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around world. (1) They also collect and distribute nearly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, as well as train millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills. (1)

So, in recognition of Red Cross Month, let’s chat and chew about the history of Red Cross and CRBG’s efforts to help its cause.

THE HISTORY

Clara Barton and associates founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881.  After hearing about the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network during a trip to Europe, Barton returned home with a new agenda.

Barton led the Red Cross for 23 years, during which the first domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts took place.  It also aided the United States military during the Spanish-American War.

The First World War

Before World War I, the Red Cross initiated its first aid, water safety and public health nursing programs. (2) Due to the war, the organization underwent a large growth.  From 1914 to 1918, the number of local chapters expanded from 107 to 3,864; membership grew from 17,000 to 20 million adult members and 11 million Junior Red Cross members. (2) Between money and materials, the Red Cross reached $400 million in donations, which supported American and Allied Forces, as well as civilian refugees.  During this time, the organization staffed hospitals and ambulance companies, as well as recruited 20,000 registered nurses to help serve the military. (2)

During the war’s aftermath, the Red Cross switched its focus to serving veterans, as well as enhanced programs in safety trainings, accident prevention, home care for the sick and nutrition education.

The Second World War

During World War II, the Red Cross was once again asked to provide services to the U.S. military, Allies and civilian war victims.

Per the military’s request, the national blood program was initiated, which collected 13.3 million pints of blood to be used by the armed forces.  To put that into perspective, one pint of blood can save up to three lives!

Present Day

Today, the Red Cross consists of everyday heroes who reach out to people in need.  While not limited to the following, their efforts include:

  • Helping disaster victims on the road to recovery
  • Giving blood to help hospital patients
  • Visiting injured service members who are hospitalized far from home
  • Taking lifesaving classes to assist someone experiencing a heart attack
  • Training to help save someone from drowning

CRBG AND THE AMERICAN RED CROSS

Here at Compass Rose, we understand the importance of giving back and helping those in need.  Since 2011, CRBG has teamed up with the Red Cross to host blood drives.  Thanks to the generosity of our participants, we have successfully collected over 65 pints of blood—we have helped saved over 195 lives!

The American Red Cross’ volunteers demonstrate a great deal of selflessness at all levels.  We encourage you to help in any way you can too!  To learn more about how you can give the gift of life by donating blood, or to make a financial donation to the Red Cross, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767.

Stay up to date with CRBG’s outreach efforts, such as when our next blood drive will take place, by following us on Facebook!

References:

  1. Red Cross Website 
  2. Red Cross / About Us page 

Operation Santa Paws

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Operation Santa Paws Poster / Copyright © Mark Posch.


The holiday season is fast approaching, which means shopping lists are getting longer. If you’re like me, you always make room on your list for your pets—nothing beats a shiny new toy in their eyes—but for animals that call a shelter home, gifts are a rare treat.

In the spirit of giving, consider donating to a local animal shelter this holiday season. There are many ways to contribute, but one program I came across recently is Operation Santa Paws, which is part of the Haute Dog Organization. Since 2001, founder Justin Rudd has worked to provide shelters across the country with thousands of treats and supplies. In a 2012 interview with Long Beach newspaper, Gazettes, Rudd said, “It’s a bittersweet thing when you visit a shelter.” He continued, “You try to help a pet knowing some are on their last leg.”

In the United States, roughly 8-12 million companion animals wind up in shelters every year, where an estimated 5-9 million are euthanized. Animal shelters aren’t always equipped to keep up with the high demands placed on them because of issues like pet overpopulation. Shelters rely on donations to keep animals active—mentally and physically—especially younger ones that need constant attention.

Looking to donate? See this list of drop-off locations to find the one nearest you.

The WISH LIST includes item such as:

  • Durable puppy/dog toys
  • Dog treats
  • Dry puppy and canned kitten food
  • Water bowls
  • Flannel blankets for kittens
  • 6’ nylon dog leashes

Operation Santa Paws collects donations nationwide throughout December (1-19), so there’s plenty of time left to help! If you can’t adopt a shelter animal, you can still make them feel a little more at home this holiday season.

National Philanthropy Day

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Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. In honor of National Philanthropy Day, I want to chat and chew about CRBG’s outreach efforts coming in 2015.

THE BEGINNING

In 2010, CRBG established Compass Rose Charities, Inc. (CRC), a nonprofit charitable corporation that provides financial assistance to members of the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and State Department.

GIVING BACK

Over the years, CRC has held annual golf events that raise money for that year’s charity of choice, such as Companions for Heroes (C4H) and Operation Purple, in addition to providing several $5,000 scholarships for students of employees of the Intelligence Community.  This coming year, CRC is excited to announce Honor Flight* as its charity of choice.

ONE MORE TOUR WITH HONOR

Honor Flight’s mission is to charter a flight of veterans from around the country to Washington, DC in order to visit their WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War Memorials.  Since getting off the ground in 2006,the Honor Flight Program has flown more than 98,500 veterans to visit their monuments and memorials.

Recently, CRBG’s Vice President, Sherri Hebert, had the distinct pleasure of volunteering as a veteran’s buddy for the day.  While sharing her experience, it was clear that the day’s events had a significant impact.  Sherri was touched by the remarkable humbleness of the veterans, as well as the deep appreciation other tourists had for the group as they walked around DC.  This program and its volunteers alike have shown a profound respect for the men and women who have fought for our country—it is charitable efforts like Honor Flight’s that remind us of our duty to give back.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Whether you choose to spend the day with a veteran, or volunteer at a local soup kitchen, all philanthropy is equally important. Giving back comes in all shapes and sizes, and is rewarding for everyone involved. Charitable programs don’t benefit from just money and time alone – awareness helps as well.  So, feel like sharing your charity of choice with us? Please do. We would love to help spread the word!

*For more history on the program, visit www.compassrosecharities.org.