From natural disasters to wars fought more than a century ago, the American Red Cross has long cemented itself as a premier source of humanitarianism, but the nonprofit hasn’t seen a pandemic of this scale since the 1918 influenza. However, the Red Cross jumped to activity with blood drives, public health education and a $720,000 contribution to international efforts. Individual volunteers have been mobilized for at-home projects as well.
Rosemary Eskridge, for example, has made more than 600 face masks with her Oklahoma City Red Cross sewing circle. “Just this week, Veterans Affairs asked us to send masks to them,” she says. “This service to them is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic because they cannot receive visitors at the hospitals or veterans homes.”
Likewise, Mary Roy, a former child therapist in Texas, came out of retirement to offer virtual therapy sessions for active-duty military families to help them manage stress caused by the pandemic. She advises: “It’s easy when you can’t go anywhere to get really pulled down. In the morning, when you brush your teeth, use that time to mark in your mind what you’re grateful for.”
Photography by: Scott Dalton