The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross has been very busy this past year.
They've provided immediate relief to 210 local disasters and supported national disasters from floods, wildfires to hurricanes.
The new year is a time for making resolutions, and the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross is urging people to resolve to help someone by making a tax-deductible donation to the Red Cross before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.
Many people make charitable contributions at the end of the year as part of their holiday tradition, and the Red Cross depends on these donations to provide hope, help and compassion, said Barbara Behling of the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter, which serves northeast Wisconsin and Michigan border communities.
Nationally, donations in December account for about 20 percent of all non-disaster contributions from the public to the Red Cross, Behling said.
"As 2011 draws to a close, we are asking everyone to remember those who need help and contribute to the Red Cross," said Steve Hansen, the local Chapter Executive. "This end-of-year generosity will allow us to help a disaster victim, a member of the military, a hospital patient, someone learning to swim."
The Red Cross is urging people to give something that means something before the New Year, donating at www.redcross.org, giving by check or by phone.
A Red Cross national poll found that 57 percent of those surveyed planned to donate to charity during the holiday season, and more than half of them (54 percent) plan to give at least $50.
Hundreds of thousands of people needed help from the Red Cross in 2011, their lives forever changed by disasters like tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S., and earthquakes and other disasters around the world.
In the U.S., the Red Cross launched 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.
In addition, major international disasters included the Japan earthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In addition, people can still go to the American Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog and buy a symbolic gift.
These also are tax-deductible contributions to the overall Red Cross mission.
The catalog include donations for items such as a military comfort kit filled with a phone card, robe, shower shoes, toiletries and an MP3 music gift card for those who have been wounded.
Disaster-related items include blankets to wrap around a woman standing in her yard this winter after her house has burned to the ground; hot meals to make sure no one goes hungry when a disaster strikes; or a toothbrush, soap and other essential personal care supplies for a child sheltered from a storm.
For those with global interests, the Holiday Gift Catalog contains a number of gifts to bring Red Cross services to people in crisis overseas. These include emergency water containers to help families collect and store clean water, tarps to provide temporary shelter and shovels to dig ditches when floods threaten.
What better way to finish 2011 with early action on a resolution to lend a helping hand?
Help someone in need and resolve to contribute to the Red Cross before the end of the year.
The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter serves 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.
To learn more about local Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how to help, contact the Chapter headquarters at 920-231-3590 or visit www.NEWRedCross.org
The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.