“You must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.”

These words from American Red Cross founder Clara Barton — the 200th anniversary of her birthday is in December — continue to serve as a guiding light for today’s Red Cross volunteers, donors and partners who exemplify her compassion and devotion to helping others.

This generous spirit is needed now more than ever. COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on our most vulnerable neighbors, and they’re in dire straits when another crisis strikes.

That’s where our Red Cross community — of people like you — steps in to provide help and hope. This year, Red Cross volunteers mobilized across the region to support families in the wake of devastating floods caused by Hurricanes Henri and Ida, responded to 936 local disasters — primarily home fires — and provided immediate emergency assistance to 1,600 families during life’s emergencies.

In turn, many of those same volunteers dedicated their time to response efforts in the south and supported blood collection efforts at a time when the need for this lifesaving resource has never been greater.

This continues to be a time to take care of each other, and what better time to honor Clara’s lifesaving legacy than when we celebrate her 200th birthday this holiday season. Join us by making a financial donation, an appointment to give blood or platelets, or becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Visit redcross.org to learn more about how you can make a difference for those in need.

Nicholas Bond, regional chief executive American Red Cross of Western New York

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