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American Red Cross in Utah Charity Profile
The Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross beginnings can be traced to May of 1898, when Emmeline B. Wells organized a group of 100 Utah women to provide comfort kits and meals to soldiers serving in the Spanish American War. As cavalry and artillery units left Salt Lake City for the war front, Red Cross volunteers filled their knapsacks with home-baked goods and hand-sewn clothing. So began the American Red Cross’ first century of service in Utah.
In 1915, a Red Cross chapter called the "Weber County Chapter" began. Its name was later changed to the Northern Utah Chapter.
Just a short while later, in 1917, a chapter was chartered in Provo, and so began the American Red Cross’ 100+ years of service in central and southern Utah.
During an extremely active era beginning in 1917, the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross saw the creation of several essential services. Home Service, the forerunner of our current Armed Forces Emergency Services, helped families cope with the problems associated with having a loved one in the military. Classes in First Aid and Home Nursing were begun and Canteen Service was started up to assist with wartime needs. The local Red Cross provided nursing services throughout the state during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.
The Red Cross continued to mobilize during times of war. During World War I, 2,000 Utah Red Cross volunteers shipped bandages to the front lines and clothing to impoverished Belgian families. Similar relief shipments were mailed throughout the Pacific and Europe during Word War II. Recognizing the need for emergency assistance on the home front, volunteers expanded their efforts to provide safety training and disaster relief to fellow Utahns.
In 1932, the Red Cross first became involved with Disaster Services in Utah, as it was determined that it was the organization best able to care for the victims of a Bingham fire. When spring rains and snowmelt flooded the Salt Lake valley in 1952, the Red Cross responded. After fire destroyed the Congress Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City in 1977, Red Cross volunteers made sure that everyone had a place to stay. When a tornado tore it’s way through downtown Salt Lake in 1999, the Red Cross responded with volunteers providing food and shelter to those affected. And when hundreds of thousands of visitors came to Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympic games, scores of trained Red Cross volunteers took to the streets providing first aid to those in need.
For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross in Utah has been proudly serving this community, constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of the constituents throughout the state.