Red Cross volunteers log 13,000+ hours serving community in January

Every day in our own backyard, residents in Eastern North Carolina rely on the Red Cross.

In January alone, more than 170 families experienced a disaster, mostly home fires. About 300 emergency communications were delivered for military families and veterans. And more than 2,500 people were trained to respond in emergency health situations.

Here’s a snapshot of our January 2017 services in Eastern North Carolina:

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Thank you to everyone who donated their time, talent and money to the Red Cross last month. To learn more about our work or to find out how you can help, visit www.redcross.org/enc

We’re Celebrating 100 Years of Service!

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We’re celebrating 100 years of Red Cross service in Eastern North Carolina and we’d like to invite you to join us in the festivities! 2017 will be filled with Red Cross events, including a kid-friendly block party, art contest for students, spectacular gala, history exhibits, art gallery, and more! The celebration will culminate in a Centennial Celebration at the NC Museum of History in June. We hope you’ll join us!

March 3: First Friday, City of Raleigh Museum Red Cross exhibit, 6 p.m.
March 10: Centennial Blood Drive, Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh
March 19: Tobacco Road Marathon & Half-Marathon, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cary
March 25: Red Cross Block Party, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Triangle Chapter
April 8: Red Cross Ball, 6 p.m.-11:30 p.m., North Ridge Country Club, Raleigh
NC State Capitol Wreath Commemoration of Great War
World War I Commemoration Day at the NC Museum of History, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
May 5-21: Raleigh Little Theatre Showing of ‘A Piece of My Heart’

June 24: Centennial Celebration at the NC Museum of History, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. The grand affair will feature war-time reenactors, military music performers, a gallery opening featuring artwork by wounded Marines, keynote address from special guests, and the presenting of the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

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Classic rock cover band to host benefit for Hurricane Matthew victims

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By Brent Kappler

Making Unbelievable Sounds Involving Charities.  That’s what the band, Wildflower and The Weeds enjoys doing. Wildflower and The Weeds is a classic rock cover band, covering music from the Beatles to Pink,  Jackson Brown and the Foo Fighters.  The band was formed five years ago comprising of seven people, all of whom are friends, that absolutely love to play music and love to give back.

The band members are: Meg Dietrich-lead vocalist, Gary Black-Lead Guitarist and backup vocals, Bob Irving-Lead Guitarist and vocals, Chuck Haas-Rhythm guitar, Mark Madar-Bass guitar, Gregg Cockroft-piano and keyboards and Brent Kappler-Drummer and backup vocals. Although none of us make our living in the music industry, we’ve all been musicians since a very young age and we love to play.

Our charitable giving started three years ago, when we were asked if we would volunteer our band to play at the North Carolina Military Expo at the NC State Fair grounds.  We accepted the invitation and had a blast performing.  Last year we performed for a large neighborhood block party and raised money for a local charity organization.  We dubbed it ‘M.U.S.I.C’ (Making Unbelievable Sounds Involving Charity).  We ended up raising several hundred dollars for the U.S. Veterans Corps, a non-profit organization located right here in our own community, where much of that money was put toward purchasing food and supplies for needy families throughout the state.

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This year we are continuing with the M.U.S.I.C theme and are playing to benefit the Eastern North Carolina chapter of the Red Cross, to raise money for families who have been and are still being affected by the damage sustained in Hurricane Matthew.  The need for assistance is still very real to many families in the southeastern portion of our state that were hit by Hurricane Matthew.  Many families are still without a home and are being housed in small hotel rooms until their homes can either be renovated back to a habitable state, or are needing their home rebuilt altogether.  We consider ourselves very blessed in the central part of the state, but we want to help those who are still in need of assistance.  Even though Hurricane Matthew hit us last October, we want these families to know we haven’t forgotten them.

…We want these families to know we haven’t forgotten them,” — Brent Kappler

We are extremely passionate about this cause and we are asking you to please join us on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a night of music, fun and dancing.  This event will be fun for the whole family.  Raffle prizes will be given away AND contest prizes, as well.  The event is being held at Christ The King Lutheran Church at 600 Walnut St. in Cary, NC, located directly across the street from the Dairy Queen and adjacent to Cary High School.

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Although this event is being held at Christ The King Lutheran Church, it’s not an official church event.  It’s a community event open to the public.  Please attend and help us do more good in our community!

Eastern NC native reflects on home fire

Kelcey Ashworth was having dinner at her father’s home in Pinehurst when she got a call kelceythat her mother’s house was on fire.

Kelcey, a sophomore in high school at the time, recalls arriving on the scene of the fire in 2002. There were a multitude of first responders, she said, among them, the American Red Cross.

“[The Red Cross] was there. They stayed with us,” she said. “The offered us a place to stay and provided a [financial] voucher to get essentials…they were a huge savior to us.”

The fire, which started from a faulty electrical wire, consumed the garage, living room, and kitchen, Kelcey said. Her family ultimately had to tear down the home and sell the property.

“A lot of people think it won’t happen to them,” Kelcey said. “But it’s more common than people think.”

In Eastern North Carolina, the Red Cross responds to about five home fires every day. Keep your family safe this winter by following two steps: 1. Practice a 2-minute home escape drill and make sure your family can safely exit a home in under 2 minutes. 2. Test your smoke alarms monthly.

For more information about home fire safety, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

Red Cross stays busy as it wraps up 2016

December 2016 proved to be a busy month for the Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina! And we couldn’t do our work alone.

Thank you to everyone who donated their time, talent and money to the Red Cross last month. To learn more about our work or to find out how you can help, visit www.redcross.org/enc

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Red Cross has severe winter blood shortage, urges donors to give now

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PLEASE SHARE: The Red Cross has severe winter blood shortage and is urging donors to #GiveNow to help save patient lives.

Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.

Making an appointment is easy: redcrossblood.org, Blood Donor App at 3cu.be/blood or 1-800-RED CROSS.

Prepare your family for inclement weather this winter

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We’re still weeks away from seeing signs of spring in Eastern North Carolina.

With winter weather still a real possibility in the forecast, the Red Cross recommends a few tips and tricks to prepare for inclement conditions:

Safely Heat Your Home
Here are six ways you can stay safe from home fires during this winter season:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke alarms once a month, and change them if they’re not working.
  • Create an escape plan that includes two exits from each room and practice it until everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes.
  • Follow the three feet rule and keep children, pets and flammable items at least three feet from heating equipment. Turn off portable space heaters when you leave the room and when you go to sleep.
  • Use gas wisely and never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. Four percent of Americans admit to having used a gas stove to heat their home.
  • Use flashlights, not candles because battery-operated flashlights or lanterns are safer than candles during power outages.

Protect Yourself from Freezing Temperatures

Avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold. Be aware of both the temperature and the wind chill when planning outdoor activities. When you prepare to go outside in severe cold weather, please remember the following:

  • Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears, as most heat is lost through your head
  • Dress in layers to help retain heat; remove layers as needed if you become too warm.
  • Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you suspect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Create a disaster supplies kit — Get together lifesaving items in both your home and vehicle. Visit www.redcross.org/prepare for more information on disaster preparedness.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Many homeowners may not be ready for frigid weather either. Now is the time to protect your house pipes from freezing and bursting. With the cold weather upon us, preventive action may make all the difference.

  • Let the cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes or pipes in exterior walls. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage or in walls adjacent to the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
  • More information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes is available here.

Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

Visit www.redcross.org/prepare for more information on preparing for cold weather.