Judge Renne Cartwell HughesI am many things. I am a lawyer. I am a retired judge. I am CEO of the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region. None of these roles explain my most important role. I am a Mom. More specifically, I am a Military Mom! My son and his wife are both officers in the United States Army.

As a Military Mom my heart bursts with pride as I marvel at the amazing young men and women who have stepped up to serve our country. Their dedication to America is even more extraordinary when you realize that less than one percent of Americans serve in the United States military. These young men and women are truly not only our best and our brightest, but also our bravest.

Military families need our support. A tremendous burden is placed on families when a loved one steps up to serve and protect America. The stress placed on a family when a soldier, airman, sailor or marine deploys, often to very dangerous places, and the emotional challenge of reintegrating that service member back into the family upon their return, is significant. Military kids are both proud and sad and as a result face unique challenges. Their families, our families, need our help.

The Red Cross can help. The American Red Cross works with the service member and their families from enlistment to retirement and beyond.

This Mother’s Day, in addition to thanking a mom for her love and support, take a moment to reach out to a Military Mom. Say thank you! Because when a family member serves, we all serve. In addition to saying thank you, share the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces website, redcross.org/SAF.

We can help and we always will help. The Red Cross was born on the battlefield and it is our greatest honor to continue to serve America’s military.

From one Military Mom to all Military Moms: Happy Mother’s Day!

Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes (Ret.)
Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region

The Red Cross has a proud history of service to the nation when America turned to the Red Cross to develop a supply of livesaving blood in 1940 to our armed forces. Nowadays, we hold about 400 drives around the country each day because someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. We are the single largest supplier of blood in the U.S. and in fact, collect and process 40% of the nation’s blood supply. Since blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, donating blood makes a big difference in the lives of others. Nearly 21 million blood products are transfused each year. One donation can actually help more than one person.

There are five main steps in the process of blood donation.

Step One: The donor registers, provides a health history and receives a quick physical. One pint of blood and many test tubes are collected then transported to a Red Cross center.
Step Two: The blood is spun in centrifuges to separate out the transfusable parts. Step Step Three: The blood is tested to establish the blood type and screened.
Step Four: The units that are suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored.
Step Five: The blood is available 24/7 and distributed whenever needed.


Are you interested in donating? Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets and only 7% of people are O negative (the universal blood type) so if you are eligible, we really need your help. To ensure the safety of blood donation for both donors and recipients, all volunteer blood donors must be evaluated to determine their eligibility to give blood. The final determination will be made on the day of the donation at the blood drive or blood donation center. If you were deferred from donating in the past, you may be able to donate again. Beforehand, it is important that you hydrate and maintain a healthy level of iron. On the day of, you should wear something comfortable, have a list of the medications you take and bring an ID. Afterwards, hydrate more and avoid exercise or heavy lifting on that day. Donating is so easy!

For more information or to find a blood drive, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Written by Brady Schneider

One of the most important things we do at the Red Cross is serve those who serve our nation. We support America’s military by helping members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with and respond to challenges. We do so in three main ways. First, we provide help and critical services on bases and in military hospitals. Second, we aid military families during deployments and emergencies. Third, we serve our veterans long after their service ends.

Norfolk, Virginia SAF 2013

The Red Cross provides 24/7 support services around the world for our military every single day. So far this year, nationwide we have served 64,111 families. Just yesterday, we served 550 families. This includes emergency communications, financial assistance, deployment services (including coping assistance), information referrals to community resources and services for veterans (such as reconnection workshops and VA hospital programs). Our commitment never wavers.


Written by Brady Schneider


Red Cross is here to provide disaster relief all day, every day, wherever someone needs us. It is a vital part of our mission. We respond to an emergency every 8 minutes. No one else does this; not the government or any other charity in the United States. That’s over 65,000 disasters every year. These emergencies range from small house fires to multi-state national disasters. No matter what, we are here to help.

91 cents of every dollar spent is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross provides relief efforts through a variety of services. Red Cross workers deploy within hours of disaster striking and 95% of these responders are actually volunteers from around the country. These volunteers include health, mental health and spiritual care professionals which are vital at disaster sites. They provide first aid treatment, monitor people’s wellbeing, ensure everyone has their prescription medications and give emotional support for coping. The Red Cross also helps support emergency responders on site.

Overnight shelters provide a safe and dry place of protection for those displaced. People may come preemptively amidst hurricanes or to emergency shelters opened responsively after earthquakes. At these shelters, we can provide distribution of much needed items. We give out emergency supplies to help people both in the moment and over the long term. Comfort kits contain basic personal supplies such as toothbrushes and emergency kits include tools like shovels and trash bags. Emergency Response Vehicles may be deployed which can provide feeding in communities that may need it. We also provide meals, snacks and water, and other essential resources that people often do not have access to during disasters.

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In addition to medical professionals, shelters and supplies, the Red Cross aids people and communities in recovery. We work with families to create a recovery plan which can include connecting people to needed community resources and organizations. We can also connect loved ones through our Safe and Well website. Whether for home fires, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, the Red Cross is always ready to respond.  Each disaster is different but we adapt our resources to the needs of the people we serve.

Written by Brady Schneider

The Red Cross trains people to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Whether for professionals to meet business compliance or just to be knowledgeable, we offer various classes to teach you important skills and make sure you are ready for any situation. Our classes are provided in multiple formats to be as convenient as possible. In person classes are held at local locations and provide hands-on training with experienced instructors. Blended learning classes combine the flexibility of online with hands-on training. Online classes are interactive and customizable courses that let you work at your own pace. To make certification easy and accessible, we give Red Cross Digital Certificates through your personal Red Cross Account upon completion of courses.

Red Cross Training Saves Lives Portraits

First aid training and CPR training keep your loved ones safe or allow you to meet OSHA compliance. These classes prepare you for the unexpected so that you can provide care when it is needed most. Automated external defibrillator (AED) certification teaches you how to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, which can happen to anyone at any time. Babysitter and childcare training prepare you to be the best caretaker, which improves children’s safety and increases your value. Swim classes and water safety classes teach vitally important water safety for personal use and, further, lifeguarding training certifies you to be a lifeguard.

The Red Cross does not only provide training for personal uses but also for professional careers. Certified nurse assistant (CNA) training is an innovative program to enter the nursing field and play an important role in healthcare. The Red Cross has prepared individuals for nursing for over 100 years now. Basic life support for healthcare providers (BLS) training for healthcare and public safety professionals helps improve patient outcomes. It uses a scenario-based approach to further develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Through BLS courses, we also offer continuing education for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). EMT training ensures professionals are current with CPR, AED and other life support skills.

To find a class in your area visit: http://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania/eastern-pennsylvania/take-a-class


Written by Brady Schneider

Ready 365 Giving Circle Members

Every day, the American Red Cross assists people who face emergencies. We secure food and lodging for the family struck by a home fire. We provide cleanup supplies to the couple whose basement was flooded. We give the child who has lost everything the immediate psychological care she needs and a toy to call her own. Once basic needs are met, we begin guiding each family through the next steps to recovery.

The American Red Cross, Eastern Pennsylvania Region responds to over 1,200 disasters each year—a majority of these are home fires.  A home fire can strike anywhere, anytime. Fires often leave families without their homes and personal belongings and in many cases, cause serious injury and even death.

In October 2014, the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign which is a multi-year program aimed at reducing fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent.  Teams visit homes and install free smoke alarms while educating each family on fire safety.

We are able to do this with the help of our generous partners.  Businesses throughout the region who value the local impact and global reach of the Red Cross, join as Ready 365 Giving Circle members.  These companies have a commitment to our mission and are ready to help save lives- 365 days a year.

For over 100 years in Eastern Pennsylvania, we have prevented and relieved suffering, one day at a time serving thousands of people across our footprint and will continue to do so for the next 100 years.  From small towns to large cities, wherever people live, they have one thing in common—they know where to turn when disaster strikes.

Thank you to our Ready 365 partners:

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Last year, our Ready 365 partners helped us to:

  • Respond to 1,225 disasters in Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • House 1050 people at Red Cross House–The Center for Disaster Recovery
  • Provide direct assistance to 5,499 people affected by disaster.
  • Install over 6,400 smoke alarms.

Thank you for your continued support. The generosity of all our partners empowers us to provide comfort and care where it’s needed most—365 days a year.

For more information on becoming a Ready 365 Giving Circle member, contact Natalie Reznik at Natalie.reznik@redcross.org or call 215-405-8828.

Visit our webpage to see a list of all our sponsors.

The images of devastation left behind by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 are unforgettable. The scenes of flooding, damage, and loss were seen throughout the northeast, including in the Lehigh Valley. But while the human toll may be what comes to mind when thinking about a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy, there is also a big toll on businesses.

In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a disaster close their doors, never to reopen. Many of those are small businesses.

A big part of the reason is just how overwhelming a disaster’s impact can be. After Superstorm Sandy, an estimated 1.3 million customers in Pennsylvania lost power, among them, businesses in the Lehigh Valley. Floods and broken trees made roads impassable, preventing workers and materials from reaching those businesses. For business owners who did not have an emergency plan in place, the response was made up of guesswork, uncertainty, and confusion.

To help businesses keep their doors open after an emergency, the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter has the Ready Rating Program. The program is a powerful tool that helps a business owner assess the business’s readiness if a disaster were to hit today, whether it’s a storm, blizzard, flood, or anything else. Using the results of the assessment, the program can help the business owner come up with a detailed plan to keep the business running.

                “It’s all about creating an environment where you’re reacting with a plan, not just having to make up a plan on the fly,” said Peter Brown, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley-Bucks Chapter.

The time is ideal to take part in the Ready Rating Program. Almost five years have passed since Superstorm Sandy, which was perhaps the last big natural disaster to hit the Lehigh Valley. That’s the longest stretch without a disaster in the last 20 to 30 years. While that’s good news for the Lehigh Valley, it also means business owners may have forgotten the importance of preparation.

“The key is that you’re not going to be caught off-guard. It creates an organizational awareness, working from a plan, that you know where you are and what you need to do, so you can focus on implementation and keeping your team moving forward,” Brown said. To learn more about the Red Cross Ready Rating Program please email peter.brown@redcross.org

You can also visit our Workplace and Organization page on redcross.org, by visiting here.

Written by Chris Peralta