Celebrating the Red Cross Calling tradition.
Monday March 31, 2014
In our Centenary year we're celebrating the Red Cross Calling tradition.
Now in its 65th year, Red Cross Calling brings together passionate people, young and old alike, to help raise the vital funds needed to support our everyday work assisting vulnerable people across Australia and further afield.
Each year March is Red Cross Calling month. To mark our 100th Birthday this year we honoured the millions of Australians who have given so generously to Red Cross, and called on all Australians to make an extra special effort in our Centenary year.
Red Cross is well known for its disaster relief and recovery programs which prepare for and respond to natural disasters such as floods and bushfires, and for the well respected National Blood Service. We also have a long history of delivering community based services to help vulnerable people and disadvantaged communities across Australia.
65 years ago Red Cross Calling would have funded our everyday work supporting people in need during the post-war reconstruction era. Caring for returned ex-prisoners of war, running first aid training, delivering social services such as hospital work and childcare, assisting refugees from WWII who were settling in Australia and helping to reconnect families separated by war through the Red Cross International Tracing Service.
Today we work in a diverse range of programs that assist vulnerable people in over 1,000 locations across Australia and further afield. The need for Red Cross is as great today as it was 65 years ago, from daily phone calls to check on the welfare of isolated and elderly people living alone, to food programs that provide a nutritious breakfast for kids who might otherwise go to school hungry.
Even though much of our work is now generously funded through regular monthly giving, Red Cross continues to receive strong community support for Red Cross Calling, which aimed to raise $2 million nationally during the month of March.
People enjoy giving back to their local community in so many ways, from organising a cake stall or sausage sizzle, to collecting at the local shopping centre or doorknocking in the area where they live. Some dedicated members have supported Red Cross calling for 65 years!
Sydney Girls High School joined forces with Melbourne Boys High School to shake their tins one week, spreading their enthusiasm and energy through the city streets. They continued a long tradition of school children supporting Red Cross which started during World War One.
Early Junior Red Cross circles were formed during the First World War at schools across NSW, including Sydney Girls High School. Junior Red Cross was formally established in Australia in 1918 and by 1925 there were almost 70,000 members, and by 1939 membership in Australia exceeded 180,000. It is great to see young people today continuing this proud legacy of voluntary service.
Red Cross Calling is still a favourite with regional communities too. The Albury Branch of Red Cross managed to raise over $20,000 in just three days thanks the wonderful efforts of our local Red Cross branches, the Wodonga Patient Transport service, local schools and the Army Logistic Training Centre and Bandiana Barracks.
Defence Force Bases around Australia accepted the challenge from Red Cross to participate in Red Cross Calling and compete against each other to see who could raise the most. Red Cross and the defence forces have shared an enduring connection in times of war and peacetime, which continues today with Red Cross training for defence force personnel about international humanitarian law.
The generosity of school children, Australian Army personnel and communities like Albury Wodonga helps support the vital everyday work of Red Cross in local communities across Australia, which cannot continue without generous public support.
If you missed Red Cross Calling, you can still make a donation on the Red Cross Calling website at redcrosscalling.org.au or phone 1800 008 831.