NASHVILLE, Tenn. —In 2023, the intensifying climate crisis took a devastating toll on people in the United States who turned to the American Red Cross for help coping with a record number of billion-dollar disasters.
So far this year, an all-time high of 25 billion-dollar disasters ravaged communities across the country. In addition, families sweltered in the nation’s hottest summer on record, and back-to-back disasters led to a series of blood drive cancellations, which placed a further strained the national Red Cross blood supply.
“The climate crisis is causing more humanitarian needs for families not only across Tennessee, but also across the country,” Joel Sullivan, regional executive officer for the Tennessee Region of the Red Cross said. “We ask supporters this holiday season to remember those who need support in the face of emergencies — and join us to provide care and comfort by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets.”
Help on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets.
“Our lifesaving mission would not be possible without volunteers and donors,” Sullivan added. “This holiday season, join us to turn your compassion into action.” To find out more visit redcross.org/volunteer to get involved and help those in need.
INCREASING SUPPORT AMID THE CLIMATE CRISIS With the growing frequency and intensity of disasters, the Red Cross is working to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes.
RED CROSS DISASTER VOLUNTEERS ALWAYS READY TO HELP
Meanwhile, our volunteers work around the clock to provide compassionate care to those affected by disaster, including those that hit closer to home.
Following an unusually active spring storm cycle, a dangerous storm system ripped across the nation over the first weekend in April, producing as many as 100 tornadoes, killing more than 30 and injuring hundreds.
In the Tennessee Region, the primary areas of impact include Cannon, DeSoto, Hardin, McNairy, Shelby, Tipton, and Wayne counties. Red Cross damage assessments found more than 235 homes majorly damaged or destroyed. Four shelters were opened in the Tennessee Region to serve displaced individuals and provide safe places to sleep, get warm meals, and find other resources.
In the weeks following the tornadoes, Red Cross volunteers remained on the ground, serving meals to individuals still in their homes, distributing relief supplies and continuing damage assessment to ensure all needs were met.
Find out more of about Tennessee Region’s volunteers response in 2023 – along with other stories of compassion in action—on the Red Cross Tennessee Region’s Year-in-Review page.
RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond extreme disasters, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:
BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year for patients in need. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion.
LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs.
MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.
INTERNATIONAL: As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross supported international response efforts to disasters such as this year’s massive earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the drought and hunger crisis in Africa, and flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has included providing millions in cash assistance, food, shelter, basic supplies, medical care and mental health services. As devastating conflicts persist in other areas of the world, the global Red Cross Movement continues to provide aid for people suffering, including those in Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza, as part of its neutral, humanitarian mission.
To donate your time, talent or treasures today, through the holidays and into the New Year to the American Red Cross Tennessee Region go to redcross.org/Tennessee.