Open for business: Red Cross open house tells citizens “We’re here”

Tucked away in a gravel parking lot off of Cadz Street is the Chester service center of the American Red Cross. Didn’t know it was there? You’re not alone, and that’s something the Upper Palmetto Chapter of the ARC is working to correct.
The service center held an Open House this past Thursday to both introduce the community to Stephanie White, the new American Red Cross Upper Palmetto Chapter Executive and to remind the community that the Red Cross is here and open for business.
While the office in Chester might not see all that much activity, the real business of the Red Cross – helping families after a single-family fire, preparing and serving in times of disasters and collecting much needed blood by facilitating community blood drives continues.
Executive Stephanie White said the service center office is open Monday through Friday. The hours vary because the hours that office manager Annie Kennedy is in the office vary, but the office is open during the week.
“We also want to increase the number of blood drives that we used to to have, and we want to increase the number of classes that we offer. We used to have classes at the YMCA, and we want to incorporate at least one class a month for CPR, AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training and First Aid. We want people to know if they have a need, they can come by the office, not just make a phone call,” White said. “We are making some strides in continuing service. They’re baby steps, but we are making some progress.”
White has been busy introducing herself to the community. She was named an executive for the region that includes Chester County last October. Since then, she’s attended a Chester County Council meeting, a Chester City Council meeting and has visited with the Chester Rotary. She has plans to attend a Chester County School Board meeting and a Chester County Chamber event as well.
One of the long-range goals White and the Upper Palmetto chapter have is to revitalize the American Red Cross Heroes Campaign in Chester County. The Heroes Campaign is the main Red Cross fundraising effort during the year.
“That’s something that we haven’t been too attentive to in the last couple of years,” White says, “but that’s something that we’re going to try to do before our fiscal year ends in June.”
The Red Cross has just recruited two new board members from that area, White said. Dr. Richard Hughes, a chiropractor in the community and Gail Hamilton, a retired principal, join the existing board members.
“We’re making some strides and getting some key community leaders to back us and support our programs and services and help us get some sustainable funding to support the Red Cross.”
White said she wanted the community to be aware as far as the Red Cross in Chester County, “our services have not changed; we are a 24-hour agency and that’s something that we do each and every day to make sure that any disaster needs people have are met. Even if you don’t see anybody here in the building, that has not changed.”