Red Cross Day

My phone pings me every day with a “this day in history” note.  Yesterday’s was about the founding of the American Red Cross in 1881.  I already knew that Clara Barton was instrumental in the beginnings of the Red Cross, but didn’t realize that she had worked with the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian war and that she began lobbying for an American organization when she came home after that.  She headed up the Red Cross well into her 80s. 

This tidbit of history caught my eye because the very first charitable work that I headed up was for the Red Cross.  I don’t remember what was going on in the world and I also don’t remember how I got interested, but when I was in the sixth grade, I started a drive to make care packages that were sent to the Red Cross.  My school let me mimeograph some flyers and kids brought items that we used for our kits:  soap, washcloths, socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste.  We had two or three meetings to put the packages together using paper lunch bags.  I don’t remember how many we made, but it seemed impressive to me at the time.  I felt very proud when my mom drove me to the Red Cross center to turn them in.

Like I said, this was my first organized good work but not the last of my support of the Red Cross.  The following summer a friend and I went all over the neighborhood (repeatedly) with a wagon, collecting pop bottles from people.  Then we carted them up to the Kelloggs store and collected the refund, which we donated to the Red Cross.  It wasn’t very much, but it felt like we were doing something important.

Do you have a cause that you’ve been passionate about?

67 thoughts on “Red Cross Day”

  1. everyone has a cause or two or three they feel paso it’s about and in a room of 100 people if you had them write it down without talking about it not 1 would ever match

    that’s my premise for givcuz. if i pair up merchants in all the cars goriest there are who agree to give a portion of your purchase (3%, 5%, whatever) to the cause that you care about then you will be motivated to have your oil changed, your dry cleaning done your groceries purchased from that location rather than the other spot and at the end of the month you would have a contribution to make to the cause that you care about.
    much better than making a donation and then having the people at the non profit start up the emails asking for more.

    my causes are the library and the jazz radio station

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In my twenties it was food co-ops – I thought we were seeing the wave of the future, how we could circumvent capitalism… didn’t last.

    Next was bookselling – I loved putting people together with the books they were seeking. That is still true, but apparently my bookstore days are over.

    Since then the energy has gone into singing and dancing – these were just an avocation till Joel died, and I realized they were part of what was keeping me afloat. Started looking into the history of each. and found that’s been true for us almost since the beginning of humans.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It was a group effort. I don’t ever remember feeling like I was alone. And of course bottle collecting was with a friend of mine in the neighborhood.

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    1. Coops are still alive but they are certainly more big business than they used to be. I did volunteering at various food co-ops for years and years. I still remember my first experience of a buying club before it was even a co-op in Northfield. You would let the organizer know what you thought you needed and on the appointed day you would go with your containers and pick up your 4 pounds of rolled oats and your 6 pounds of whole wheat flour, scooping them out of the big industrial sized bags. It seem very radical at the time.

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        1. Even the bulk is expensive at the coop. When it comes to making quality food accessible to people, Costco actually does a better job.

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    2. When you go through a profound loss, those activities that keep you afloat are so important. I am glad you had something like that.

      In many ways our little blog Baboons do that for me.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Online solicitations have polluted email as spam calls have corrupted the telephone service. I get dozens if not hundreds of solicitations every day, most of them political in nature and some from causes I actually support. But I never respond to requests for money, for my opinion in a survey or to add my name to Michelle Obama’s birthday card. Even when the request is not directly for money it’s a way to collect your name and some personal information (your email at the very least) that the solicitors can aggregate with available public data to compile a list they can sell to other fund raisers and to scammers.

    Robin has taken over her mother’s financial management because at 99+ she was incapable of keeping track. When she got the first statement from her mother’s credit card, she discovered that her mother had made over $8000 in online donations the previous month through Act Blue. This was in the run up to the election when the solicitations were particularly intense. Two of the donations, one for $2500 and one for $3000, had happened because her mother had entered the amounts $25.00 and $30.00 and the websites had not recognized the decimals.
    Robin was able, after a lot of calling and time spent, to get those two refunded. But the donation sites were typically set up so that when you specified a donation amount, the default was to set that up as a monthly contribution rather than a one time donation and for her mother, who has poor eyesight and is minimally adept with a computer the format was deceptive. She still was being drained of several thousand monthly. Robin spent hours trying to get through to a real person at Act Blue to cancel all the recurring contributions, with no luck. She called her mother’s bank and told them the situation and cancelled her mother’s credit card, then opened a new one. When the first statement arrived for the new card, there were all the Act Blue debits on the new card as well.
    She called the bank and was told that, in the fine print when you sign up with Act Blue, you give them the right to transfer their debits to a new card if you change. Also, the person at the bank had failed to block payments to Act Blue on the new card. Robin cancelled that card, opened a third card with the blocks added and still was getting some amounts debited. Finally, Robin called Act Blue and left a message detailing the situation, suggesting that it amounted to the exploitation of vulnerable adults and threatened to bring the case to the state attorney general. The next morning she received a message from Act Blue that all the debits had been cancelled. They could have done that in the first place.

    When Robin took out the new credit card for her mother, she listed our address on it. Shortly thereafter, we began getting phone calls from “800 Service”. The voices on the answering machine varied, but they would say something like, “Mary… Mary… are you there Mary?” (Mary is her mother’s name.) Obviously the credit card company is also selling the names and addresses of new card recipients, which can easily then be aggregated with phone numbers and other personal information, like age.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

        My efforts go into the Iowa State 4H Foundation and Gardening, and like Barb they are efforts that help me cope with grief and loss. My parents lost everything in their 20s, due to no fault of their own. It affected all of us so deeply.

        I have written before about the scholarship my family sponsors for Iowa 4Hers going into my father’s field of agriculture and farming. It is so interesting when I read Ben’s posts, because I know dad would hardly recognize farming in its digital, high tech form. He would have loved all of it. And he would loved having this scholarship in his name. Every year after I help screen the applicants for the foundation, which has many scholarships, I feel such hope for the future of people. Maybe one of these bright Iowa kids will rescue Iowa politics which needs some rescuing.

        The Master Gardener program has many charitable and volunteer opportunities. I am now working towards getting my intern volunteer hours in so I can be a “real” Master Gardener. With my own name tag! Yesterday I volunteered at community garden very near to BIR’s former home in R-Dale. This garden is attached to an apartment building that houses people with Multiple Sclerosis. And there is the grief connection. We help them plant, harvest, weed, and maintain. Yesterday I cleaned out the compost bins, one of which was filled with plastic bags filled with compost-able material which, of course, was going nowhere in plastic bags. What a mess. I also weeded one of the pollinator gardens until it poured cold, giant drops of rain at the stroke of 3pm. I picked up my things and ran for the car.

        When I do these activities, I somehow find meaning in our family story.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. No, it isn’t. It is right on the N.Minneapolis border defined by a large railroad yard. I go through R-Dale on my way there, then Crystal happens for 2 seconds, and maybe Fridley, then N. Mpls. Common Bond/Kingsfield is the place.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I just looked at a detailed map to determine where exactly this is—Victory Memorial Pkwy turns off of Hwy 100, in Robbinsdale where it runs along the border of Mpls and Brooklyn Center for about 1 1/2 miles. Somewhere on that road I saw the turnoff to BiR’s former home. If you turn left off of 100 (as in when you have no sense of direction or you get lost on your way home) you go through Crystal and New Hope.
          In that mile and a half you can wander back and forth through a number of inner ring suburbs and core city, including Robbinsdale and Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course contributing money is not the only and is possibly the least meaningful way to support things you believe in, but I didn’t want to keep going on that response forever. When we do donate, we usually write a check rather than donate online.
        Donating your time and energy is better, when you can.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I am approaching the big 65 this summer and the amount of junk mail and spam calls that I have gotten in the last 10 months is unbelievable. This is clearly big business for somebody out there. For several somebodys most likely. And it really irks me because I am sure that most people are probably paying more than they need to or losing money because it is so frikkin’ complicated.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What irritates me is that all the solicitations are to some degree dishonest and manipulative. Even if it’s for a cause or position I support, I know that Nancy Pelosi is not personally emailing me, I know that I have not been personally selected to represent Minneapolis with my opinion, I know that my money is not going to influence the supreme court. Despite what the solicitations imply, my money is not equivalent to a vote in some distant election. If these people don’t have an honest case to make, why should I give them my consideration?

        Liked by 4 people

    2. In defense of Act Blue, I did a few contributions in the runup to the senate elections in Georgia, South Carolina, and Kentucky. I made a single donation to each Senate race and don’t recall being asked for a recurring contribution. I got a ton of e-mail, of course, but I guess I expected that.

      I have signed up for text alerts whenever anyone charges something to my card without the card being physically present. It’s a good feature.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I said I don’t recall being asked for a recurring contribution, but it would be more accurate to say I don’t recall being pushed for a recurring contribution, or any attempt to trick me into it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess our church garden and the food pantry are our causes now. This afternoon we and other volunteers are going to put the container tomatoes and peppers in their pots. We will also plant the tomatoes and peppers in our own garden. We had .70 rain last night. We are still considered in extreme drought, though.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Our ability to recognize sounds, and especially, voices is remarkable. One of my early office jobs included answering incoming phone calls. It wasn’t long before I recognized the voices of hundreds of regular customers and could greet them by name. Good switchboard operators routinely do this with little or no effort. Both Bernie and Martha recognize the sound of my car.

          Liked by 5 people

        2. There is a bird that chirps loudly each morning at 4:00 am, just long enough to wake me up. Then it flys off somewhere else. The other birds don’t start until 5:00 am.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I remember my cat, Sammy, installing himself on my porch in the months before he came to live with me permanently. He recognized the sound of my car, and as I was pulling over to the curb, he’d be walking down the sidewalk meowing to me. After he moved indoors and gained permanent resident status, he always came to greet me, until the weeks before the very end of his life.

          Liked by 3 people

    1. We have a very vocal hawk or similar bird of prey living near by, which has niftily solved the rabbits-in-the-garden problem. So for a bit I am relieved of my role as Farmer McGregor. We must hear the distinctive hawk cry a half dozen times a day lately. No eagles around yet this year though. Sometimes they float on the air currents at the top of the bluffs that mark the end of our back yard, then descend to the Minnesota River over the next 7 miles. Lou had the eagles with him on Election Day, 2016, all afternoon. We took it as a reassurance that someday things might be ok. Only one other day since have they hung out with us there.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Tomorrow we are erecting a fence around our main front yard veggie garden. The bunnies like our beans and peas. We have no hawk or predatious cat to dissuade them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wes, I am not sure how much bird information is too much information. Friday evening the neighbors were standing in the front yard visiting with a guest, when they started pointing at the South side of our garage and laughing as loud quacking and wing-flapping emerged from the area. 3 drakes and a duck hen were, um, mating although we are still unsure why this required 3 drakes.

        This event is now known by the rhyming title, the Great Duck F*** which takes no imagination whatsoever.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. When we got to the church garden this afternoon we found that the 4 huge bags of Miracle Grow moisture retaining potting soil we bought a month ago had been pilfered on Friday night. They were stacked outside the garden shed. Husband saw them there Friday. We had to go to Runnings to get more. We eventually planted the Minnesota Mini canelope plants in the raised bed and 4 peppers and 8 tomatoes in the pots.We had help from two other volunteers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Then we returned home and planted 12 peppers and 8 tomato plants and our 2 hills of cantelope. Tomorrow we put up the rabbit-proof fence around the big garden plot.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. You think that voice recognition would understand what a cantaloupe is and how to spell it. Or did you type and your finger hit the wrong key?

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  6. Hi kids, it’s really fun reading the causes you all support. Today is one of my nieces birthday’s and she’s raising money for 4H. She’s been a good ambassador for them.
    This year in particular I’ve been helping out a group called the Long Reach Long Riders. LRLR.org
    It started several years ago as a group of theater guys riding motorcycles to the annual convention. They handed out kazoos along the way and raised money for organizations that support backstage theater people. The route moves around the country and this year it’s starting in St. Paul, going up north, over into Wisconsin, and then wind up in St. Paul again. So I have been helping contact businesses for support and I hope to get up for the dinner. I’ve met a few of these people over the years. They were supposed to do this route last year. So if you see a bunch of bikes with kazoos the weekend of June 19 or the 26th, it’s probably this crazy bunch.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I have many volunteer things to think about. I have resumed my volunteer tax gig, though it has been more difficult than usual this year. Everything online, and the switching between documents makes everything so much slower. Next season we will probably be back in person. The fix-it clinics have yet to resume. The Minnesota Humane Society decided to drop out of the state fair booth altogether. But you do what you can when you can. That’s all you can do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Weather was perfect, tim’s deck was lovely and included a naked grandson swimming in a plastic pool, we were there for 3 hours and discussed the book for 5 minutes. Tthe people were real 3 dimensional people not on zoom.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now we have had another .55. Husband had to get up on a ladder to clear the down spouts we thought we had already cleared last fall so that the water would drain appropriately and the one window well wouldn’t fill up and leak into the basement bedroom that got wet the last time we had rain like this and the downspout was plugged. I held the ladder. At least the rain was warm. We were both soaked.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. In the late 1990s, my husband volunteered for the Heartland AIDS Ride from Mpls to Chicago. Once that went bust because most of the money was spent on the ride amenities and not the actual AIDS issue, we started volunteering with the local Minnesota AIDS Ride, benefitting agencies in the state of MN that supports local agencies working with AIDS patients and their families. He continued working for the MN Red Ribbon Ride for over 10 years. I joined him for about 7 of those years. It was an amazing group of dedicated people who raised many $$ for the agencies. It’s still happening, only in different forms since the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a committed fellow. I did the TRAM ride several years in a row, the one across Minnesota for MS. I just rode – I wasn’t part of the organizational plan.

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