Huge ‘Thank you’ to Flowers Food Bakery

The wonderful team at Flowers Food Bakery, in Modesto, has done it again, and this time we want to extend our deepest appreciation to them for all of the generous gifts and services that they have and continue to provide.

Thursday, August 6th, to help survivors of the Mad River and Fork Fire Complexes, Flowers Food made a special delivery to our shelters that were open in Trinity County. Breakfast and snack items were served to everyone!

Last year during the King, Boles and Applegate fires the wonderful team went above and beyond to bring the community together during their time of need.

They delivered product to our emergency command center in Sacramento and to our shelter in Applegate. They even went as far as to host an amazing barbecue lunch for the volunteers and staff!

These acts of kindness fall right in line with the American Red Cross values; compassionate, collaborative, creative, credible and committed! We are truly grateful!

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Generation Y and IHL: Why Should Millennials Care?

Post by  Jessica Lach, IHL Youth Education Intern. Originally posted on the Humanity in War blog.

 

DeathtoStock_SlowDown2-300x200Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are said to be full of complexities and firsts. Born in 1994, I consider myself a true millennial because I check most of the required boxes: I had Internet access during my formative years and social media as I grew into adulthood, and I learned all about the economy by watching the effects of the 2008 Global Economic Recession. Most importantly, me and my generation have been overexposed to media more so than any other generation preceding us. Despite all the information we are regularly thrown, we sometimes have skewed perspectives, especially when it comes to putting International Humanitarian Law into context.

A New Way of Getting and Processing Information

Millennials are the first generation to collectively form a true companionship with something lacking a living pulse — in other words, our smartphones have become a part of our daily lives and regular communications. Not only are our smartphones an extension of ourselves, but they are how we see the world we are living in. I know I am not the only one guilty of checking my social media news feeds before I even get out of bed in the morning. After all, about “six-in-ten online Millennials (61%) report getting [political] news on Facebook in a given week, a much larger percentage than turn to any other news source, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis”. From the comfort of bed, I can become fully aware of what the weather is like, how political situations across the world are panning out, and, most importantly, what a Kardashian sister ordered from Starbucks. New technological apps have simply become parts of our daily routines. Having progressed from Myspace home pages and then Facebook timelines, to Twitter feeds and Instagram posts, we Millennials have now found ourselves getting a look at daily life from 10-second Snapchat stories. From Snapchat, members of Generation Y have learned about the Greek referendum and other world events through the eyes of people much like ourselves. Furthermore, we are a generation that relaxes to the welcome screen of Netflix and opening chime of Xbox.

A Skewed Version of Reality, Including Rules of War

DeathtoStock_Wired10-300x200However, with the movies and video games which we regularly expose ourselves to through these and other services, a lot of what we see is not entirely accurate when it comes to properly portraying the rules of war. Common dystopian novels and movies, like The Hunger Games and Batman, regularly show scenes of destruction to civilian compounds and even the use of child soldiers, both of which are prohibited under IHL. Popular video games also tend to portray a world of warfare that skews the reality of what a wartime conflict is like and the real protections that are in place. I facilitated a Raid Cross activity once, during which my team and I hosted an open discussion about what the rules of war include. Throughout this discussion, many students tried to tell us that it was okay to take items off of deceased soldiers since this action is permitted in the popular video game Call of Duty.

Before I learned about IHL, I never really thought that rules of war existed, especially since modern media rarely displays them. Although I know fiction is merely fiction, when something is regularly portrayed, it can be easy to apply it to real life. For example, regularly watching movies like The Hunger Games may lead young people to believe that children carrying and firing weaponry is normal, whereas it is prohibited under IHL. The Call of Duty instance above is another example.

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Why Understanding IHL Protections Is Critical

Though Millennials are a generation of information seekers and seem to always be plugged in, the result is that we can easily skew information and not fully understand the true implications of what we are exposed to in the media. When prompted with the question of “Why should Millennials care about IHL?”, the answer is simple: we are exposed to wartime conflicts more so than any other generation before us was from the media, meaning it is important that we understand the protections granted under IHL. It is imperative that we understand that what we see in the media is not always legal, not only because the rules of war are important but also because they may be vital to the strangers we see gracing our Snapchat stories an ocean away. As Millennials, we watch snippets about life on the frontlines on our Facebook timelines and then sit down and relax to Game of Thrones, all while forgetting that there are rules of war that, in effect, help shape the conflicts of our day. Though we are a generation known for our overexposure, we are also one of great conviction- a similar conviction that was found in the creation of the Geneva Conventions decades ago.

International Youth Day: Carolyn’s Powerful Survival Story

August 12 is International Youth Day! And the American Red Cross is celebrating our young partners like Carolyn Strzalka, President of the Red Cross Club at the University of Michigan. Carolyn is a blood recipient, a donor and a Red Cross volunteer.

Here’s Carolyn’s Inspiring Story:

Carolyn-Strzalka In high school I was an active student. I volunteered regularly at a local animal shelter and organized local food donation drives in addition to working hard on my studies. As varsity soccer captain, I ate healthy and exercised, making sure to take care of my health. So when I turned 18 and started experiencing sharp abdominal pains I knew something was not right.

When my doctor told me that I needed to have my gall bladder removed two days before moving into my college dorm I was nervous I would miss out on all the welcome week activities. As a stubborn 18 year old, I adamantly told him that after my cholecystectomy I would be going off to college. He explained to me the surgery was an out-patient surgery and I should be recovered enough to partake in any non-strenuous activities. But the day after I moved into my dorm room I knew something was not right. After not being able to keep any food down and almost fainting walking back to my dorm room I called my mom and asked her to take me to the hospital.

In the emergency room, the physicians told my parents that there was a very low chance that I would survive. I had been internally bleeding into my stomach for 3 days and my red blood cell levels were at a third of what they should have been. He suggested I receive two blood transfusions, but cautioned my parents that it may already be too late. Fortunately, the blood transfusions saved my life.

I am beyond thankful for the blood donors whose donations have allowed me to be alive today. These donors have a special place in my heart because I have type O negative blood and can only receive blood from other type O negative people.

After this experience I wanted to give back to blood donors who helped save lives like mine. However, after receiving a blood transfusion you are not able to donate blood for a year. So I began volunteering at blood drives to let people know how much their donation meant to people like me. While volunteering I got to hear inspiring stories about why other people donated blood, including stories from people who donate blood every 56 days. After experiencing the need for blood donations first hand, I now am inspired to donate every 56 days as well.

How to Get Involved:

Join Carolyn by choosing to make a difference in your community this summer with the Red Cross, either through blood donation, taking a babysitting class or volunteering. You can find more ways to get involved at RedCrossYouth.org. #ChooseYourDay

Dakota Bradley Named Ambassador for Red Cross Fire Mission

After losing his childhood home in a house fire at the age of 15, singer/songwriter Dakota Bradley has a personal connection to those who know all too well what the fire takes from people.  Growing up in St. Louis, MO, Bradley moved to Nashville, TN at the age of 16 after his family lost everything in a house fire. This life-changing experience is the inspiration behind Bradley’s passion to partner with the American Red Cross and to serve as an Ambassador for our home fire campaign to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25%.

“Losing my home in a fire was devastating. I am honored to partner with the American Red Cross in hopes to prevent similar tragedies, as well as a way to help fire victims,” says Bradley.

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To kick off the yearlong giving campaign, Bradley will donate $0.50 to the American Red Cross for every digital purchase of “Name On It” sold between now and September 30, 2015. You can download his new single by visiting iTunes.  Your gift to Home Fire Relief enables the Red Cross to provide critical services to people impacted by home fires along with the lifesaving tools and information to support home fire prevention efforts.

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Parents’ Gratitude for Blood Donors Highlights Summer Need

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The American Red Cross has recently been in extra need of blood donors; the impact of blood donors has always proved instrumental in saving lives. As blood donations continue to decline this summer, the American Red Cross asks eligible donors to remember patients who are counting on the generosity of volunteers to roll up a sleeve and give. Without lifesaving blood, patients like 3-year-old Emily Stephenson wouldn’t be alive to share their stories.

Emily’s Story

Emily was only a few days old when her parents, Amy and Wayne Stephenson, learned she had a genetic blood disorder which causes severe anemia. To remain healthy, Emily will require blood transfusions every six to eight weeks until she is at least 10 years old. She’s already received blood more than 30 times.

“Blood donation is the bridge between life and death for Emily, but it is also so much more,” said Amy Stephenson. “It is learning to ride a bike, going to her first dance, earning a diploma and walking down an aisle someday.”

The Red Cross partnered with the Stephenson family in a special video to put a face on the importance of blood donation. In the video “Emily’s Story: A Letter from Mom and Dad,” the Stephensons want to express eternal gratitude for those who roll up a sleeve to help Emily live.

“The process of donation may appear to be filled with anonymity, but we see a name in every unit Emily receives during a transfusion,” said Amy Stephenson. “While we do not know the donor, we can see your heart and we appreciate you.”

Emily is one of many individuals who are in urgent need of blood; one donor can potentially save up to three lives from just one pint of blood.

The Red Cross has an urgent need for eligible blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood to give now to prevent an emergency situation. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Individuals with these blood types are urged to make and keep donation appointments as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply.

Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed to help ensure the shelves are stocked for patients in need. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, surgical patients and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are always needed. Donors with type AB blood are urgently needed to restock the plasma supply. Type AB donors have the universal plasma type, which can be given to patients of all blood types.

Plasma is often needed for burn, trauma and clotting deficiency patients. Plasma can be collected during a blood or platelet donation.

Everyone is encouraged to give blood or platelets to help patients like Emily and replenish the blood supply. For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download.

If you would like to donate in the Gold Country Region, visit Delta Blood Bank for information of when and where to donate.

Red Cross Renews Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA

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The American Red Cross has renewed its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The MOA is aimed at defining the overarching goals of the relationship between the two organizations. The Red Cross and FEMA last signed an MOA in 2010. The 2010 MOA focused on the collaboration between the two organizations in coordinating and delivering mass care services during disaster responses, and specifically on the Red Cross role as co-lead for mass care portion of Emergency Support Function-6, one of 15 Emergency Support Functions identified in the National Response Framework.

Since 2010, both FEMA and the Red Cross have enhanced their perspective to include all phases of the disaster cycle. In 2011, President Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive 8, which tasked FEMA with coordinating the production of National Planning Frameworks across the disaster cycle, including prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. In 2012, the Red Cross undertook a business process reengineering effort that resulted in alignment of its disaster preparedness, response, and recovery mission areas.

While the MOA still addresses the Red Cross co-lead role in Emergency Support Function-6, it also recognizes the important role the Red Cross plays in other Emergency Support Functions, Recovery Support Functions, and preparedness functions.

“This renewed MOA is a great reflection of Disaster Cycle Services and the goals and vision we set with re-engineering,” said Richard Reed, Senior Vice-President for Disaster Cycle Services.  “Working together with FEMA, we expanded our agreement to ensure our partnership covered the entire disaster cycle.  And we now have an agreement that is not only more strategic in nature but also speaks to the specifics of how our two organizations work together in preparedness, response and recovery.”

The MOA can be found on the Government MOU Index on The Exchange.  Contact the Emergency Management Coordination unit with questions.