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American Red Cross

Clara Barton, on her visit to Europe came across the International Red Cross Network which inspired her to found the American Red Cross in the year 1881 in Washington DC. After its incorporation, Barton was the head of this organization for 23 years organizing and operating many disaster relief programs worldwide.

Successful programs include American Red Cross’s campaign to incorporate into the International Red Cross Movement, the peacetime relief work which initially faced resistance in Europe. This organization effectively helped the military troops during the Spanish-American war.

The first congressional charter was received by the Red Cross in the year 1900 followed by the next charter in 1905, which is in effect till today. The purpose of the organization is listed out in the charter which includes serving as a medium to help military personnel and their families communicate with each other, providing relief to the troops and providing disaster mitigation and relief on the national and international level.

American Red Cross holds the distinction of including the public health nursing programs, water safety and first aid before the First World War. It was during the First World War that this organization grew in stature and importance. It received a whopping $400 million contribution from the public towards various relief operations and programs including those for the civilian refugees and the American Allied Forces.

In order to serve the military at least 20,000 registered nurses were recruited by the Red Cross which also staffed ambulance companies and hospitals. The focus of this organization was towards accident prevention, safety training, nutrition education and home care for the sick apart from providing relief to victims of major natural disasters.

US military, civilian war victims and allies benefited from the Red Cross’s services during the Second World War. A national blood program was initiated by this organization at the request of the military where armed forces benefited from 13.3 million pints of blood. Blood program by this organization still continues nationwide as a civilian program that supplies at least fifty percent of the blood required by the country.

To find the link to this and many other military aid and charity organizations, please visit the Military Links & Resources page.

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