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Commemorating March As Red Cross Month

Rep. Laura Richardson

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Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize March as National Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross has provided assistance and comfort to communities stricken by disasters large and small since it was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton. For over 100 years, the American Red Cross has continued to help ensure our communities are prepared and resilient in the face of future disasters.

Madam Speaker, at home and abroad, one in five Americans is touched by the Red Cross every single year. On September 29, an 8.0 earthquake in the Pacific Ocean generated tsunami waves in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga, killing more than 170 people. The district I represent, the 37th of California, has the largest population of Samoans in the continental United States, so this tragedy directly impacted many families in my district. I would like to recognize the American Red Cross for their invaluable assistance and quick response in providing relief after this event. I can attest to the good work they did when I traveled to American Samoa to deliver supplies donated by my constituents. The American Red Cross mobilized 90 volunteers to provide food, water, and relief supplies, as well as tracing services for families separated during the disaster. The Samoan Red Cross mobilized 200 volunteers to distribute relief items and support camps sheltering the homeless, with the goal of assisting 15,000 people.

In my district, the Greater Long Beach Chapter of the American Red Cross has 590 registered volunteers. They have certified 32,160 people in CPR/first aid, AED and water safety skills, and more than 4,330 people have received disaster preparedness training through health fairs, speaking engagements or trained in preparedness classes. In addition, the Disaster Action Teams (DAT) responded to 33 local emergency operations, opened 3 shelters and provided disaster shelter and food to 58 individuals, and financial support to 39 families. Finally, our volunteer youth group served 1,000 needy adults and children at their annual Holiday Project.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I ask that you and my distinguished colleagues join me in applauding the hard work of the American Red Cross volunteers and celebrating March as American Red Cross Month.