Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of March as American Red Cross Month. For over 130 years the American Red Cross has been helping people in need. Now is an excellent time to recognize not only the Red Cross, but each member of the community who contributes to this great organization through volunteering, giving blood, taking life saving classes or providing financial support.
The local Red Cross in Kansas City, Missouri, in my district, serves a population of more than 2.6 million people. Last year they financially assisted more than 1,000 families with local disasters such as home fires. The Kansas City Red Cross served the U.S. Military by providing 2,350 Services to the Armed Forces cases. More than 23,000 attended Red Cross community presentations, most of them being on how to prepare for disasters. Within the region, 38,372 people took Red Cross courses. Most of those were for CPR and first aid.
There are 70,000 disasters that the American Red Cross responds to each year in this country alone, ranging from home fires affecting one family to hurricanes affecting tens of thousands. This past year the Red Cross played a vital role in disaster relief during super storm Sandy, the Colorado Wildfires and Hurricane Isaac. It also released a series of free apps to aid in disaster preparedness, ranging from addressing tornado and hurricane threats to providing first aid advice and assistance in locating Red Cross Shelters.
An average of 150,000 military families and veterans receive assistance from the Red Cross annually. Support for wounded soldiers, resiliency training, linking military families during an emergency and connecting families with local community resources are a few of the ways the Red Cross assists the U.S. Military and its veterans.
Nearly 4 million people donate blood each year, providing more than 40% of America's blood supply, making the American Red Cross the single largest supplier of blood in the U.S. It is also the nation's leader in providing health and safety classes such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training that more than 9 million American's participate in. Such education is vital in preparing citizens to help others in an emergency.
The American Red Cross provides a plethora of supportive programs for not only citizens of my district, and districts around this country, but also for people all over the world. International services provided by the Red Cross reach out to communities in over 80 developing countries. More than one billion children have been vaccinated thanks to the Measles and Rubella Initiative that was launched in 2001. Countless families torn apart by war or disaster from as far back as World War II have been reunited through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Mr. Speaker, it is essential that this Congress pay tribute to the Red Cross and the millions of Americans who lend their efforts to its success. I urge my colleagues to stand with me in support of American Red Cross Month and honor all that this organization has done for our great country.