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Front of City Hall

Capture a waving Red Cross flag in a photo between March 1 and March 6? Post it to Twitter or Facebook to enter a drawing for tickets to the Red Ball!

 

March is designated as the month to recognize the achievements of the Red Cross locally, nationally and internationally.

In the Philadelphia area, we celebrate by flying the telltale red and white flags around Center City, and City Hall. The effect is striking in several ways: the stark red and white of the flags looks striking against the brisk blue sky of early March, they add to the grandeur of Liberty Square, and they remind one and all of the essential role of the Red Cross in our community.

City Hall is not the only place flying flags. Starting Saturday, March 1st, there will be dozens of Red Cross flags flying in downtown Media and West Chester, as well.

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For the week leading up to our 14th annual Red Ball – the Red Cross’s grand celebration party at the Please Touch Museum on March 8 – we invite our social media community to play a modified game of Capture the Flag. If you see a Red Cross flag in your community, take a photo and post it with the location to Twitter or to our Facebook page and mention us (@redcrossphilly) and use hashtag #redcrossflag. Feel free to be creative and by all means, feel free to make them selfies. We’ll RT as many as we can.

We will enter you in a drawing for two Main Event Red Ball Tickets on March 6 for each photo you send. (Maximum of five entries.) We will select one suburban photo and one Philadelphia photo winner. They will be announced on our Twitter and Facebook feeds and the tickets will be available for pick up at the Red Ball. For details on the Red Ball, visit theredball.org.

While you’re snapping those photos, enjoy some of the other ways the Red Cross is celebrating. Look out for lights as well! Even coffee clutches are getting in on the action!

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The beautiful Ben Franklin Bridge will be dressed in red starting March 1st. The red lights can also be seen at One Liberty Place, Hyatt Penn’s Landing, the Cira Center and on the PECO Crown Lights. Wawa coffee will sport the red and white and we all know the coffee at Wawa is HOT! Protect yourself with the help of the Red Cross. Enjoy!BenFranklinBridge

Please TouchIn some ways, the Red Ball, a gala event sponsored by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross, is as old fashioned as the Red Cross itself.  It takes place in the architecturally stunning Please

Touch Museum, a carefully preserved monument to Philadelphia’s Beaux-Arts heyday.  Guests wear their finest party clothes, as they would have 100 years ago. There is fantastic food from

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Philadelphia’s best chefs and dancing to live music.  And there is profound sense of community:  We come together to support the work of the Red Cross in our City of Brotherly Love because it embodies our most deeply held values. It’s a really special event.

That said, let’s talk about the clothes! How often is there an occasion for a fabulous full length ball gown? What about those incredibly sharp tuxedos with the red satin cummerbund and bow tie? Still yearning to make up for that disappointing prom dress? Now is your chance. Treat yourself to some amazing attire. And guys, this is a formal occasion. Show your date, and the cause, some respect and look in an actual tuxedo. And don’t borrow Dad’s from the 70s. Stop by Black Tie Philadelphia. You’ll be amazed at how comfortable you are in one that actually fits.

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What’s the point in looking incredibly good, if there’s not a way to show off? The Red Ball has its own Red Carpet, and as soon as you place your foot upon it make sure to prepare for your Joan Rivers interview because that’s how stunning you’ll look. Professional photographers will be there to take a picture of your date, your mate, your friends and anyone else in your entourage. Check out some of the fun and finery from last year’s ball here.

Did you know the Red Ball is a place where skilled chefs compete for your approval? They display their comestibles at several tables near the dance floor, and guests have the opportunity to sample, enjoy, and vote for the best by placing a special token in a box by each chef’s table.  If you are a chef or restaurant representative and would like to be involved, check out this restaurant brochure.  In the VIP room, fine Italian cuisine will be provided by Catelli Duo.  At the end of the evening, the winner of the Red Ball Restaurant Award is announced.Red Ball Food

The Red Ball’s Auction and Raffle prize selection will include fitness, beauty, and entertainment packages galore! It’s so satisfying to take home a prize to remember the evening and know you supported a great cause – especially if the prize is something fun like tickets to a local sporting event or a massage at an excellent spa.

Dance the night away at the 2014 Red Ball with the CTO Band. Since our very first Red Ball, the CTO Band has kept the dance floor moving. For those who enjoy softer jazz, George Veasley will return to play the Carousel Room and the ride will be open to Main Event guests. The VIP room will feature not one but two dueling pianists providing light background music.

rco_blog_img_REDBALLBANDMarch is a great time of year for a party. Not only is spring on the way but March is also Red Cross Month. It is a time to recognize the efforts of our volunteers and staff and honor the roll of the Red Cross in our community. The Red Ball is a party with an essential purpose: It raises money for the Red Cross House and directly impacts the lives of those who have suffered devastating loss and who benefit from the kindness and generosity of our donors.

8549399695_fa0ec4f209_oThe party was fantastic! The Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania once again proved to be a wonderful host to the 1,200 people who chose to attend this year’s 13th annual Red Ball and support Red Cross House.  Altogether, they helped us raise more than $400,000, breaking the record for the most money raised for a single day SEPA Chapter event. We will use this money to continue to provide shelter, food, care and necessities to those who have lost their homes to disaster.

Once again, the Please Touch Museum proved to be the perfect venue for our “red tie gala”. My role was to greet partygoers as they arrived to have their pictures taken in front of our Red Cross banner and, I was lucky to be working with our wonderful volunteer photographer, Michelle, who made an effort to make every photograph a great one. Everyone looked fabulous and I especially appreciated several red silk vests adding flare to the classic tuxedo attire of certain gentlemen. Many party goers expressed their admiration for the work of The Red Cross and their pleasure in supporting the work of Red Cross House.

I arrived at 4:30 to help set up. For those who have never witnessed the planning and staging that goes on to prepare to host 1,200 people, please understand that it takes a small army of willing, able and energetic workers to carry it off. Last year, I was amazed by the dedication of our volunteers and my opinion has not changed: What a fantastic group of people. Many of our volunteers were working so hard throughout the evening that they missed a few things, like a taste of the seafood at this year’s restaurant winner, Devon Seafood’s table. However, we did try hard to give each other breaks so that we had a chance to wander through the party and enjoy the atmosphere. I sampled many delicious foods during my own short break and may have gotten a little carried away at one of the cupcake stands. I’m very passionate about cupcakes.

Never mind. . .it’s important to note that the VIP Lounge had the lower floor all to itself and, while VIP party goers had full access to the rocking party upstairs, downstairs they enjoyed a quieter atmosphere of mellow jazz from artist Gerald Veasley, soft lighting and incredible food from Chef Daniel Stern of R2L. I thought this worked very well. There was plenty of space for the main event party goers to spread out and enjoy themselves, and their access to the carousel added to their enjoyment of the evening. In addition to the food and the music, demonstrations by professional dancers added elegance and sophistication to an already spectacular event.

Red Cross House furniture, set up at both entrances, reminded our guests of the why we are so grateful for their support of our work at Red Cross House. All proceeds from The Red Ball directly benefit the House, SEPA Chapter’s one-of-a-kind short-term housing facility in University City where hundreds of local families every year begin their recovery from fires, floods, and other disasters.

Several local blogs and news organizations posted photos and news about The Red Ball. Feel free to explore some of the links below.

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/03/11/american-red-cross-red-ball-2013-photos/

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2013/03/10/the-red-ball/#photo-385768

http://philly.happeningmag.com/centercity/2012-red-ball-recap

http://www.thehousewifediaries.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

http://www.phillytrib.com/outandabout/item/8130-13th-annual-american-red-cross-ball-a-success.html

http://phillystylemag.com/galleries/red-ball-1

Each year, the public affairs department of the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) makes a list of our “Top 20 Accomplishments” in order to take stock of our activities in the prior year and to let our friends know we have fulfilled our mission to the best of our ability. Funny thing about this list – it rarely appears in early January when one might expect to see it. Why? Because we’re often a little busy.

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Our most important work, helping those who face disasters, always comes first. The #1 accomplishment on the list mentions Superstorm Sandy, the enormous hurricane that hit the East Coast in early November.  During and in the wake of such a serious event, our small public affairs department went into overdrive to share important information with the public about preparedness, explain what SEPA is doing to support our community’s response to the storm and jumpstart our fundraising efforts.  Just when we’d got a handle on all that, it was the depth of winter, a time when the Philadelphia region is plagued by fire disasters that keep us on our toes.

So here we are, on February 21, 2013, ready to share and celebrate our 2012 accomplishments with a marvelous multi-media presentation!  As we do every year, we printed a booklet with photographs and in-depth explanations of our activities throughout the year. (here’s the Top20_2012_FinalIn addition, as part of our digital and social media efforts, we will devote a part of our website to displaying a digital version of our booklet  and, for the first time ever, a video display of the many ways we achieved the goals of our mission. Dear Reader, please click on this link to experience our moment of reflection in a wholly new and exciting way. I watched it this morning and I was amazed, captivated and utterly floored by its power to convey our message.

Like our mission itself, the video is a testimony to working together to achieve a goal. The SEPA public affairs team consists of our fearless leader, Dave Schrader and his tireless communications specialist, Sara Smith. The rest of us are volunteers who wander in and out throughout each week, contributing as best we can. I think all viewers will agree that our intrepid video interns, Michelle Davies and Kareem Bazali, did a fantastic job of putting the video together. The fades to black and white were Sara’s brainchild, informed by her background in TV, and she curated the beautiful photos. I did some shaping of the language in both the booklet and the video. Dave was the mastermind behind the list itself and a wise producer and director of all our efforts.

We are extremely pleased with our final Top 20 compilation and gratified by our role in sharing the SEPA story with donors, volunteers and friends.  But we are proudest of the work itself — SEPA’s ongoing efforts to alleviate suffering and create a more humane, caring and just world.

–          Submitted by Sarah Peterson, public affairs volunteer