AmeriCorps Spotlight: The Red Cross of Greater Columbus

By: Jack Wolfe

If this blog is doing what it’s supposed to do, then you see that Corps Members and Staff are doing a LOT in our city, from supporting classrooms and tutoring small groups, to putting on great events and performing service projects.  Based on all this, you might think that City Year has no limits… but, hey, we do.  At the end of the day, City Year Columbus is just twenty-something people (most of them twentysomethings), and the scope of our service is necessarily limited by time and resources. Fortunately for us, we live in a community bustling with dedicated nonprofit organizations.   One such organization that’s of particular interest to me is the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.   Throughout my two years with CYCO, the Red Cross has shown itself to be an epic contributor to the community.

I first volunteered with the Red Cross last year, when City Year was asked to canvass around Weinland Park.  The service itself wasn’t too intense— we walked up to porches and put little grocery bags on front doors.  Whoop de doo, right?  Well, inside the bag was information on the Red Cross’s Community Transportation program.  I’ll let the Red Cross website tell you what that’s all about:

“The American Red Cross of Greater Columbus Community Transportation Program offers medical and non-medical transportation throughout Franklin County. Transportation is provided to those who qualify either through a third party payer such as Franklin County Senior Options, Title III or through the local support of the Red Cross general fund and the United Way.  For the most part seniors must be age 60 or above and low income.  Rides are also available for disabled individuals and referrals from the Columbus Cancer Clinic. Individuals who don’t qualify for third party payment can access transportation for a nominal fee.”

In a mostly-walking neighborhood isolated from a hospital or emergency care facility, a Transportation service is absolutely vital.  The fact that the Red Cross offers such a service for free to low income seniors is a testament to their insight and generosity (and definitely something worth canvassing for!).

My second experience with the Red Cross came this year, when I helped run a Blood Drive in the Keybank Building (you might remember my blog).  I remember how frustrated I was before the day of the Drive— recruitment numbers were worse than expected— and how most of those frustrations dissipated the day of.  The Red Cross employees who came were just the nicest, jolliest people you’d ever meet (you wouldn’t think they took blood for a living).  Even with our less than stellar donor turnout, they were relentlessly thankful and supportive.  They made my day… and together, we probably saved a life (the Red Cross supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood supply!).

These are just two experiences, of course.  The Red Cross does so much more for Columbus, and they do it thanks almost entirely to donations and volunteer support.  You can learn about all they do, and how you can help, at  Thank you, American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.


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