DINE-OUT TO SUPPORT DISASTER RELIEF

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Restaurants & Patrons Pair Taste-buds and Disaster Relief Together

On March 27th, food establishments across Eastern Wisconsin and the Michigan border communities will work together to support the American Red Cross as participants in the Dine Out for Disaster Relief.  Restaurants, pubs and eateries will donate a portion of sales to benefit local Red Cross disaster relief programs. With the primary fire season being exceptionally active, and working in a budget overage situation, the timing to eat-out and support the Red Cross couldn’t be better.

Share with us your Dine Out Restaurant of choice! #dine4disaster

Share with us your Dine Out Restaurant of choice! #dine4disaster

With each residential fire, we are there 24/7/365 to help the families with immediate needs and help guide them toward longer-term recovery.  In the first eight months of our fiscal year, we are already $56,000 over budget!  We can’t stop responding as families need us.  Therefore, please make it a date-night, office lunch outing, morning breakfast or late night snack to help support local disaster relief.

While the Red Cross responds to big disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes each year, the most frequent threat people face is a fire in their own home. In fact, Disaster Action Team workers respond to an emergency every nine minutes around the United States. Locally, it was 644 disaster responses last year ranging from fires to tornadoes, winter power outages and flooding!  Red Cross responders are a dynamic team that is empowered to deal with crises throughout our communities. When a disaster strikes, we provide a place to sleep, warm meals, emotional support and hope. Through the support of our communities, we help provide basic emergency needs, financial assistance and recovery guidance.

“Restaurants are such valued partners with the American Red Cross. Their generosity is amazing. Not only do they support fundraisers like Dine Out for Disaster Relief, but they also support the Red Cross by donating gift certificates for our event raffles and food and beverages to help feed shelter residents or emergency personnel during larger disasters,” commented Becky Bergin, the Dine Out organizer. “Overall, they are great community supporters”, she concluded.

A handful of restaurants are supporting the American Red Cross with month-long activities in honor of “March is Red Cross Month”. Some have also selected different days and times that fit better with their hours of operation and schedules. A list of each restaurant and their way of supporting this annual philanthropic effort is listed below.

For the fourth year, Dine Out for Disaster Relief is presented by Society Insurance, headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

You can join in on our conversation! Help us by talking about your Dine Out for Disaster Relief activities on your social media sites – Facebook & Twitter! For Twitter, use #Dine4Disaster

Click HERE for a list of participating restaurants:

Giving Back to our American Heroes

By: Kaitlyn Schmitt, UWO Red Cross Club, Service to Armed Forces Chair

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The UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club joined Americorps Vet Corps and Adrianne Benson, Americorps Vet Corps member and Red Cross volunteer, to return to volunteer at King Veteran’s Home on March 16th. This time, we provided help with multiple activities. Half of the volunteers helped with a game of bingo and the other half went downstairs to the bowling alley for some rounds of bowling and snacks.

I volunteered with Bingo and I passed out prize quarters and collected bingo cards. We even had coffee and cookies for the Veterans. The Veterans got so excited when they won, and I heard a lot of them calling out their own numbers they needed to win. Bingo was very competitive. There was lots of great socialization and laughter heard in the room. I had several Veterans come up to me afterwards and thank me for being there. Then I thought, “Wow, we should be the ones thanking them for their service!” It was another incredible opportunity to give back to those who selflessly served us. UWO Red Cross member, Samantha Johnson, stated: “It’s a great feeling being able to give back to the veterans who risked their lives for our country.”

The bowling alley was full of excitement as well. The veterans definitely taught us younger volunteers how to bowl! It was exciting to see their faces as they knocked all the pins down.

UWO Red Cross President, Angie Dusenberry, exclaimed: “Bowling with the Veterans from King could not have been a more rewarding experience. It was heart-warming to be able to share the laughs and great experiences with the individuals who gave me my freedom – even if they did kick my butt in bowling!”

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members  Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members
Brenna Schobert , Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

The Veterans had a blast bowling and still have the skill. UWO Red Cross member, Brenna Schobert, expressed: “It was amazing to spend just a few hours giving back to those who gave up so much for our country. They are incredible people and I feel truly blessed to have helped to put a smile on their faces.”

Several of the veterans thanked us and said that they hope we return to volunteer again. We will definitely be returning for more fun-filled days with the veterans. Not only do we brighten their day, I know they brighten mine.

We enjoyed the stories, excitement, and camaraderie. We all walked away with smiles on our faces. This is the greatest generation and volunteering at the Veteran’s home is truly a blessing. I know I definitely leave King Veteran’s Home feeling inspired and happy. There is nothing greater than volunteering during American Red Cross month and “being a hero” to the true heroes in America’s hearts – the Veterans.

American Red Cross New Flood App Can Save Lives

By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers and Communications, Northeast Wisconsin

So many people, with all their belongs on the curb. So very sad to see everything these people worked for destroyed.

So many people, with all their belongings on the curb. So very sad to see everything these people worked for destroyed.

September 2013, I saw first-hand the devastation that can happen from flooding and flash floods. I was deployed to Denver, Colorado to assist in Disaster Public Affairs and worked with a professional photographer and his assistant.

We talked directly with the clients impacted and over and over, I heard the same stories of how fast the water came rushing up to their homes and they barely had enough time to escape or had to be rescued. I also saw the devastation all around from roads buckled from the rushing waters, to parks once filled with children playing, that now looked like lakes, to seeing water up to the steps of homes.

I was there when one family was going back into their home for the first time after five days to see if there was anything worth salvaging. You could see the water-line up to the middle of the garage door. We had breathing masks on because of the mold and mildew that set in after the flood waters had receded. The floor was covered with brown silt. These are just some of the images that will remain with me when I think of flooding.

(click HERE to read in more detail about my Colorado deployment)

Did you know that floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States? The American Red Cross developed its new Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods.

This free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a flood. The content is available in English and Spanish based on the user’s language settings on their mobile device.

FloodScreenShot2The app includes location-based, audible NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings – even if the app is closed. Other features include:

  • One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to send a message letting family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm to let others know where you are;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Real-time recovery resources for returning home and cleaning up; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The app is the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. The expert advice in Red Cross apps, which also include apps for First Aid, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and other services, has been used to help save lives during disasters and medical emergencies. Red Cross apps have been downloaded on nearly 4 million mobile devices.

The Flood App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

Overcoming War, Sickness, & Struggle – My Mother’s Heroic Story

By: PaKou Lee, Social Media Intern

“Who is your hero?”

I’m sure you’ve been asked this question before, whether it was for a school essay, speech presentation or in your daily conversations. There are so many different and amazing answers: celebrities, super heroes, a family member or a stranger… the list is endless.

My mother. She is my hero. When I think about my mother, she is definitely heroic. Her story is incredible. And here’s why:

My mother, Mao Moua, at Christmas time!

During the Vietnam War, the Hmong people aided the United States by rescuing downed pilots and fighting where America needed them. The Veit Cong were hunting down the Hmong people because of this. Can you imagine running for your life in the jungles of Laos? You’re holding your children’s hands, hoping they don’t make any noise. Fearing that if your child cries of hunger, the sound will attract the enemy that carries a deadly weapon. Then you have to think quickly as to how you and your family are going to swim across the Mekong River to get to the Thailand border, where temporarily freedom awaits. (I always imagine trying to swim across the Mississippi River, which is crazy!). You beg for your life to get on a boat. You find ways to build a boat out of bamboo. All of these thoughts and images cross my mind when I think about my mother. I don’t think I would ever be able to handle what she and my older siblings went through. I have a better life because she survived the war. 

I was in elementary school when she started studying for her citizenship. She barely spoke English, she knew the basic ‘yes and no’ and so forth, yet she still struggled. She played her tape cassette all day long, listening and learning about what was going to be on her citizen test. She would repeat the questions and answers to herself, “Who was the first president of the United States? George Washington.” My mom passed her test and became a citizen. She studied and practiced so hard, she deserved every bit of it. I was so proud of her.

My mother passed away when I was twenty. I think I was a junior in high school when she was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure.  She had dialysis three times a week, 3-4 hours a day at DaVita. During my first two and half years of college, I scheduled my classes around her dialysis schedule so I could go with her. I don’t know how she did it. I wasn’t even the one receiving dialysis and I was always exhausted during and after. There were times when we stayed overnight for a few days at the hospital every month. It was definitely a roller coaster. Her blood sugar was too low or her blood pressure was too high. Something was always wrong.

I remember when she received her first blood transfusion. The nurse explained the process and consent forms. I had to explain it to my mom in Hmong. She teased me because I couldn’t pronounce a Hmong word correctly or couldn’t find the right term. It was a good laughing medicine.

I want to thank my mother’s heroes: the nurses, doctors, and especially the blood donors. Without your generous donations, I’m not sure what would have happened. But I’m glad my mother was able to receive it and be able to live. Thank you for helping my hero stay alive and be a little bit stronger for me. I’m so thankful to be a part of the American Red Cross and to have Jody Weyers be my mentor. I’ve met amazing people and new friends through this internship. I’m so proud to be a Red Crosser!

#BeAHero

Join Us for the 7th Annual HEROES MUSICALES

Enjoy the musical stylings of the Robin Lukas Trio, Harmonious Wail and the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet featuring Leah Zeger.

Advance Tickets $30, ACT TODAY – Always a “SELLOUT!”

HEROES 2014 Flyer

Service to Armed Forces Awarded Grant from Green Bay Packers

By John Kost, Service to the Armed Forces Regional Director

John Kost, Service to the Armed Forces Regional Director, holding the check at the awards luncheon on December 17, 2013

John Kost, Service to the Armed Forces Regional Director, holding the check at the awards luncheon on December 17, 2013

We are very pleased to have received a $2,000 grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation to support United States Reserves and Wisconsin National Guard Family Resiliency Days.

The money will be used to help establish a program that enables families to effectively gather information, resolve problems and maintain the mutual support necessary to reduce stress associated with separations, reintegration, and other challenges that come from military life.

This year, 6,000 or more Reserve, Guard, and associated family members will attend two Family Resiliency Days in their area located throughout Eastern Wisconsin.

Many times, the unit is based out of a different city where Reserve/Guard members and their family reside.  The Reserve and Guard are challenged to provide a strong training and home front with their soldiers.  These families live and work in our communities, are a part of our economies, and are our neighbors and friends.  Ensuring they have solid training, a strong home front, and spirited support is our mission.  When service members are strong, we are all strong.

Red Cross Recognizes Everyday Heroes During Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross Month - Volunter datMarch is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the nation’s Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.

“Our local heroes are our volunteers, our blood donors, people who take our classes or those who make a financial contribution to help us, help others, throughout our communities” said Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director.  “During Red Cross Month, we thank them and encourage everyone to discover their inner hero!” 

For more than 70 years, all of our country’s presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

Here in Wisconsin, we respond to more than a 1,000 disasters (mostly residential fires) and we must be ready to respond 24/7/365. In addition to helping someone down the street, we send trained responders to hurricane, tornado and wildfire responses across the country. We teach kids to adults lifesaving skills, we roll-up our sleeves to donate blood, we even provide 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world.

‘Not all heroes wear capes and volunteering is a great way to be someone’s hero,” gleamed Weyers. “It’s easy, become a Red Cross volunteer, work on a preparedness plan for their household, give blood, or take a Red Cross class.”

A number of activities planned for Red Cross Month, includes:

March 4th – Blood Drive, Bellin Hospital, 744 S. Webster Avenue, Green Bay, 6:30a.m.- 12:15 p.m.

March 6thWe open our newest Nurse Assistant Training location in La Crosse. This brings our statewide total to six training locations with courses happening almost monthly. State Farm, Walmart and the Waupaca Community Foundation are funding student scholarships.  www.redcross.org/WINAT.

March 6th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

March 13th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

March 14th – Blood Drive – Bay Area Medical Center, 3100 Shore Drive, Marinette 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.

March 16thMembers of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Red Cross Club, Student Veterans Association and Americorps/Vet Corps will coordinate a King Veteran Home resident’s bingo and bowling outing.

 March 20th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan, 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

Facebook-Cover-Photo-event-pageMarch 27th – Dine Out For Disaster Relief – Bring your hunger to participating restaurants where a percentage of your sales will be donated to support disaster relief and life-saving preparedness programs locally.  www.redcross.org/dineoutwisconsin is presented by Society Insurance.

March 27th - Blood Drive – University of Wisconsin-Marinette Activities Room, 750 W. Bay Shore Street, Marinette, Wisconsin 9:00a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

March 31st – UWGB Red Cross Awareness Concert with Rob Anthony playing at the UWGB Common Grounds from 5:30p.m. – 7:30p.m. 

ALL MONTH LONG:

  • Flags will fly over the Fond du Lac bridge.
  • Residents in Sheboygan County can receive FREE life-saving training thanks to a United Way partnership to make our families safer!
  • All Health & Safety classes can be found at http://www.redcross.org/takeaclass
  • US Bank ATM’s have a “donate” option for the Red Cross.
  • When filing your Wisconsin State Taxes, you can use the donation “check off” to give directly to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Every dollar stays in Wisconsin.
  • Donate the gift of life – give blood! Our Green Bay Blood Donation Center at 2131 Deckner Avenue collects blood four to five days a week and includes evening and weekend hours. Walk-ins welcome or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.
  • To learn more about volunteering go to www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Jody Weyers at 920-227-4287 or jody.weyers@redcross.org.
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