As 2021 comes to an end, families and communities are facing great emergency needs from the continuing and overlapping challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and global conflict.
During one of the country’s most active years of severe weather, a family displaced by a disaster spent an average of nearly 30 days in a Red Cross-supported emergency shelter. These extended stays were largely due to the lack of savings and community housing shortages –signs that climate-driven disasters are compounding the financial hardships of the pandemic.
To meet the increasing needs of hospital patients, the Red Cross distributed 250,000 more blood products in 2021 than last year, until the delta variant began to spread in August. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from last year — one of the largest year-to-year decreases that could threaten essential medical care for patients.
Meanwhile, around the globe, COVID-19 has converged with severe drought and conflict, creating massive humanitarian needs for a growing number of displaced families. This year, at the request of federal government partners, American Red Cross workers distributed more than 2.1 million essential items — like blankets, diapers, medicine and toys –for evacuees from Afghanistan, as well as unaccompanied children seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
These mounting struggles are wearing on the most vulnerable, who depend on the American Red Cross for support in their darkest hours. Volunteers distributed emergency financial assistance to help more than 256,700 people with urgent disaster needs, such as making a deposit on a new apartment or replacing lost essentials. This assistance is critical, as a 2021 study showed that nearly 40% of U.S. adults would need to borrow money or sell personal items to cover an unexpected expense of $400 or more.
For each response the American Red Cross depends on individuals, foundations and corporations financial support and the dedication of thousands of volunteers across the country. It is because of these supporters the Red Cross is able to provide help, hope, comfort and compassion to those in need.
THANK YOU for your ongoing support and a special thanks to our Ready365 partners who proactively support the Red Cross mission throughout the year to ensure help is available when and where it’s needed most!
*denotes Annual Disaster Program Partners
Billie and Gillis Thomas Family Foundation
Dian Graves Owen Foundation
DuBose Family Foundation
Fannie and Stephen Kahn Charitable Foundation
J.L. Williams Foundation
JR Beadel Central Texas Foundation
Kickapoo Springs Foundation / Legett Foundation
Mary Potishman Lard Trust
SitePro Rentals Inc.
The Priddy Foundation
Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation, Inc.