American Red Cross History

American Red Cross organization is United States' premier emergency response organization and has a rich history attached to it. This non government organization was founded on May 21, 1881 by Clara Barton and her circle of acquaintances. The concept and idea of starting this organization came in the mind of Clara Barton when she visited Europe. She took inspiration from the international Red Cross Network and started campaigning for American Red Cross society.

Initially, during the American - Spanish war, the American Red Cross Society started its disaster relief efforts by serving the US military. Clara Barton retired in the year 1906 after serving the organization for 23 long years. However, the organization had already received its first 2 charters by then. The organization was only limited to providing first aid and nursing programs until the outbreak of the First World War.

This war ensured that the organization grew substantially and between the year 1914 and 1918, the Red Cross chapters grew from a mere 107 to 3,864. It was the period during which the organization's membership increased rapidly and grew to over 31 million members. The funds gradually started flooding in as people understood the role and importance of this organization at time of disasters.

After the First World War, the American Red Cross started its main service of collecting and supplying the blood and blood products. This has helped the organization to become the nation's largest blood bank as it supplies blood to almost half of the United States population. Apart from the collection and supply of blood, the organization also started major initiatives to serve the citizens such as accident prevention and safety training.

The Second World War saw the organization's major oversees disaster relief services that included shipping of supplies worth 300,000 tons. Apart from this, the organization also collected 13.3 million pints of blood for the armed forces.


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