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Metro Creative Connection

Red Cross response in 2021: Families face emergency needs amid COVID-19, climate change & global conflict


Mon, Nov 22nd 2021 11:25 am

Bring hope to holidays by donating on Giving Tuesday or giving blood to help overcome nation’s emergency blood shortage

Submitted by the American Red Cross

In 2021, people in Western New York and across the country faced great emergency needs as the ongoing pandemic exacerbated the challenges related to severe disasters, blood shortages and global conflict.

“Our most vulnerable neighbors are facing unique and pressing struggles when crisis strikes on top of COVID-19,” said Nicholas Bond, regional executive, American Red Cross of Western New York. “This holiday season, join us to provide help and hope in these difficult moments by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets.”

On Giving Tuesday and during the holidays, visit redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also learn about volunteer opportunities in their area and give back in honor of American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, who initiated the first Red Cross chapter in the Western New York region, in Dansville, and whose 200th birthday will be commemorated on Dec. 25.

Relentless Disasters Compound COVID-19 Struggles

2021 marked one of the country’s most active years for severe weather – which battered many communities still reeling from last year’s disasters. For thousands of people in need, the Red Cross launched a new major relief effort every 11 days to provide refuge, food and care.

This year, a family displaced by a disaster in the U.S. spent an average of nearly 30 days in a Red Cross-supported emergency shelter. These extended stays were largely due to a lack of savings and community housing shortages – signs that climate-driven disasters are compounding the financial hardships of the pandemic.

The Western New York region was not immune to disaster as many communities within the region were severely impacted by flooding, especially in August and September when remnants of hurricanes Henri and Ida pushed through the area. Hundreds of volunteers mobilized during those periods, establishing temporary shelters, providing meals and other forms of aid and comfort to families displaced by flooding. Overall, Red Cross of Western New York staff and volunteers responded to 936 local disasters – most of them home fires – and provided assistance to approximately 1,600 families.

Global Conflict Creates Mass Needs For Displaced Families

Around the world, massive humanitarian needs emerged in 2021 for a growing number of families displaced by the overlapping challenges of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change. This year, at the request of federal government partners, Red Cross workers from Western New York and across the country distributed more than 2.1 million essential items – like blankets, diapers, medicine and toys – for Afghan evacuees arriving on U.S. military bases and unaccompanied children seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Volunteers from throughout the 27-county Western New York region accepted deployments to respond to a wide range of disasters throughout the country, including the western wildfires, deadly flooding in Tennessee and New Jersey, hurricanes Henri and Ida, the tragic Surfside building collapse in Miami, and the arrival of Afghan refugees at stateside U.S. military bases, among others.

COVID-19 Strains Blood Supply For Patients

To meet the increasing needs of hospital patients, the Red Cross distributed 250,000 more blood products in 2021 than last year, until the delta variant began to spread in August. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from last year – one of the largest year-to-year decreases and one that could threaten essential medical care for patients. Locally, the Western New York Red Cross region has experienced a 34.7% decrease in new blood donors this year.

As a result of low blood donor turnout in recent months, the Red Cross is heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in more than a decade at this time of year. Blood donations are desperately needed now to meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

All those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec. 16 will automatically be entered for the chance to win a private screening for the winner and 50 of their guests of the epic new film “The Matrix Resurrections.” Plus, those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec. 16 will also get a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/matrix.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Nov. 22-Dec. 16


Nov. 24: noon to 6 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive

Nov. 26: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive

Dec. 8: noon to 6 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive

Dec. 15: noon to 6 p.m., Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive


Nov. 23: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., University at Buffalo North Student Union, Student Union

Nov. 24: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., WNY Chapter, 786 Delaware Ave.

Dec. 15: noon to 6 p.m., WNY Chapter, 786 Delaware Ave.

•Grand Island

Dec. 13: 1-6 p.m., Grand Island Knights of Columbus, 1841 Whitehaven Road


Dec. 4: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Church of the Nativity, 1530 Colvin Blvd.


Nov. 30: 1-5 p.m., Faith United Methodist Church, 1449 Quaker Road


Nov. 27: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1, 145 N. Sixth St.


Nov. 23: 1-6 p.m., The Dale Association Inc., 33 Ontario St.

Dec. 14: 1-6 p.m., The Dale Association Inc., 33 Ontario St.


Nov. 29: 1-6 p.m., Newfane Town Hall Community Center, 2737 Main St.

•Niagara Falls

Nov. 22: 1-6 p.m., Cristoforo Colombo Society, 2223 Pine Ave.

•North Tonawanda

Nov. 24: 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Stephen Sikora Post American Legion, 950 Payne Ave.


Dec. 3: 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road


Nov. 23: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Youngstown Firehall, 625 Third St.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit Twitter at @RedCross.

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, In Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, In Association with Venus Castina Productions, “The Matrix Resurrections.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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