World Humanitarian Day is an international day of recognition by humanitarian organizations of their dedicated volunteers who take time out of their everyday lives to provide comfort and relief services to those who are stricken by disasters around the world.
At the Red Cross, volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work we are known for. What started with Clara Barton for the war effort in 1881 has been molded by years and years of relief efforts. From war related efforts, crowd support, flooding, home fire response, and other natural disasters, the Red Cross continues to carry on its efforts by the same fundamental principles:
- Humanity: to prevent and alleviate human suffering;
- Impartiality: to relieve the suffering of individuals without discriminating as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions;
- Neutrality: to enjoy the confidence of all by not taking sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political racial religions or ideological nature;
- Independence: to maintain autonomy from the government;
- Voluntary Service: to provide relief without being prompted in any manner by desire for gain;
- Unity: to maintain only one Red Cross in any one country;
- Universality: to ensure that the movement is worldwide and that all societies have equal status and responsibilities
Locally, our volunteers continue to go above and beyond what is asked of them. From storm damage related calls to more than 1,200 home fire responses, the Western Region of North Carolina is booming with volunteers who are eager and willing to help others. Most recently our disaster action teams assisted families that were displaced in an apartment fire in east Charlotte. Families that were affected were offered resources at a shelter for two weeks. Our dedicated volunteers kept the show running and offered everything from comfort, food and translation services to the families.
On World Humanitarian Day, we would like to recognize not just one volunteer but all our volunteers across the region. The credit for what we do each and every day goes to those who help coordinate actions behind the scenes, to those who help with office tasks, who meet and greet blood donors, who assist with telling our Red Cross stories, to those who deploy and are on the front lines, to those delivering lifesaving blood products, and to all others who give of their time and treasures in whatever way they can. A big thank you to all of you who have just begun your Red Crosser journey and to those of you who are continuing the journey. Without you, there would be no Red Cross.
The Red Cross is always in need of volunteers who are the heart and soul of the Red Cross mission. Whether you have 2 hours a day or 2 hours a month, there’s a place for you at the Red Cross. To learn more about opportunities in your area, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.
Authored by McKenna Estes, intern with the Western North Carolina Region communications department.