A good cause Secaucus helps kick off Red Cross Month

In celebration of the Red Cross Month in March, Mayor Dennis Elwell and other town officials will join with the Red Cross Foundation to help kick off the Annual Disaster Fund Drive on March 1 at a special luncheon in La Reggia Restaurant on Woods Avenue.

The concept of the Red Cross evolved out of a European conflict in 1859, when a young, Swiss Banker Henri Dunant was stunned by the 40,000 dead and wounded he saw during the Italian Unification. In 1863, he helped convene the first international conference in Geneva to help war wounded – a role later expanded to provide disaster relief.

Elwell said in his official proclamation that the Red Cross has served as the “greatest mother in the world,” since its inception. Indeed, the Red Cross was, before the turn of the 19th Century. It had provided grain to Russia during a famine there, as well as aid to Armenians in Turkey during a crisis there. During the American-Spanish war in 1898, the Red Cross helped send supplies to troops stationed throughout the Caribbean.

In 1900, the United State Congress recognized the American Chapter of the Red Cross, and the Red Cross became a vital force for relief in World War I and World War II as well as the Great Depression in-between, supplying food, clothing and other help.

Since then, Red Cross’ disaster fund has been instrumental helping victims of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, as well as disasters resulting from chemical spills, explosions, fires and construction collapses.

Elwell said the town of Secaucus wanted to recognize and salute the American Red Cross as well as its Hudson County Chapter, and help in the organization’s efforts to raise funds.

“This event was held in Weehawken last year,” Elwell said. “The luncheon or diner usually goes from town to town. Tickets are about $30, but it is to help a good cause.”

Elwell, since taking office on Jan. 1, 2000, has made a point of inviting charity groups such as the Red Cross into town, as part of an effort to support community involvement. Elwell has also encouraged local businesses and corporations to contribute to these groups.

“I think these kind of events help bring a community together,” Elwell said when introducing the concept last year.


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