American Red Cross



Mission Statement

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. It does this through services that are consistent with its congressional charter and the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross Movement.

Illinois Capital Area Chapter

The American Red Cross, Illinois Capital Area Chapter is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that focuses on providing disaster response and assistance to victims of disaster in Sangamon, Christian, Logan, Macoupin, Montgomery, Menard, Coles and Clark counties. In addition to disaster relief, the American Red Cross, Illinois Capital Area Chapter provides Community Disaster Education, Health & Safety Training, Armed Forces Emergency Services and a senior meal delivery program. Founded on October 15, 1917 as the local affiliate of the American National Red Cross, the Illinois Capital Area Chapter is guided by its 18 member Board of Directors in its mission of helping Central Illinois prevent, prepare for and respond to personal and community emergencies. Since the turn of the century, the Red Cross has been proud to serve as Central Illinois’ most crucial non-governmental provider of disaster assistance. When crisis and hardship strike individuals and families in our community, the American Red Cross is there with leadership, support, and direct assistance.

Jurisdictional Coverage Area

The American Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter provides service within the following counties:


National Red Cross

Clara Barton and a circle of acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881. Barton first heard of the Swiss-inspired International Red Cross Movement while visiting Europe following the Civil War. Returning home, she campaigned for an American Red Cross society and for ratification of the Geneva Convention protecting the war-injured, which the United States ratified in 1882.

Barton headed the Red Cross for 23 years, during which time it conducted its first domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts, aided the United States military during the Spanish-American War, and campaigned successfully for the inclusion of peacetime relief work as part of the International Red Cross Movement.

The Red Cross received its first congressional charter in 1900 and a second in 1905, the year after Barton resigned from the organization. This charter–which remains in effect today–sets forth the purposes of the organization that include giving relief to and serving as a medium of communication between members of the American armed forces and their families and providing national and international disaster relief and mitigation. For more information about the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, visit

International Red Cross/ Red Crescent

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the world's largest humanitarian network, with a presence and activities in almost every country.

The Movement incorporates the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the International Federation), as well as National Societies in 178 countries.

With a vibrant and varied history, from its birth in the aftermath of battle in 1859 and the vision of founder Henry Dunant and four other men, through two world wars and up to today, the Movement is widely acknowledged as an unstoppable force for help and compassion.

The Fundamental Principles of The International Red Cross Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

Impartiality: It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality: In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence: The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.

Voluntary Service: It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity: There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.



Emergency Services

For more than 87 years, the IL Capital Area Chapter has been proud to serve as Central Illinois’ most crucial, non-governmental provider of Emergency Services, including Disaster Relief and Armed Forces Emergency Services.

Disaster Relief

The number one priority of the American Red Cross is to provide disaster relief to individuals, families and communities who have been affected by disasters including, but not limited to: fires, tornadoes, floods, winter storms and terrorist activity. During disasters, our primary function is to minimize loss, comfort victims and help them restart their lives by providing basic necessities, to include food, clothing, temporary shelter, first-aid and mental-health counseling. The Red Cross also provides assistance including food and respite services for emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources, if necessary. On average, the Red Cross, Illinois Capital Area Chapter responds to a disaster every three days; providing nearly $100,000 in direct financial assistance to hundreds of individuals and families each year.

Red Cross disaster assistance is available to all residents in the Illinois Capital Area Chapter’s jurisdiction (Sangamon, Christian, Logan, Macoupin, Montgomery, Menard, Coles and Clark counties) who have been affected by disaster and the responding emergency workers. Families that are highest at risk for disasters are the members of the community who are low-income and/or suffer other disadvantages. The affected families find themselves facing a sudden and uncontrollable loss of belongings, their home, and other items, and are often unable to ensure the minimum physical necessities of life. Through Red Cross assistance, we are able to keep the families intact and afloat until they are able to recover, so as not to force the family into a state of homelessness or devastation from which they may not recover. Families without financial resources like insurance; cash reserves or family support systems are most likely to utilize the disaster assistance of the Red Cross.

Armed Forces Emergency Services


In addition to disaster services, the Emergency Services program addresses the needs of military family emergencies through the Chapter’s Armed Forces Emergency Services Program (AFES). The Red Cross is chartered by the United States Congress to act as a communications medium between military personnel and their families; however receives no governmental funding for the program. The United States Armed Forces recognizes the American Red Cross emergency messages as the verifying source of an individual crisis in a military member’s family. This information enables commanders to make informed decisions regarding emergency leave when a military family faces crises such as death, critical illness, financial problems or birth. The American Red Cross is the ONLY agency that can provide emergency communications for military members and their families.

For more information about the Red Cross Real Estate program, please visit our partner

Meals on Wheels

The American Red Cross, Illinois Capital Area Chapter is proud to have celebrated the 35th anniversary of its Meals on Wheels program on March 2, 2005. For 35 years, in partnership with Church Women United, the American Red Cross has fostered independence throughout the community by providing hot lunches for homebound individuals. The American Red Cross Meals on Wheels program helps senior citizens, convalescents, people with disabilities and the chronically ill and others who may need meals delivered on a short or long-term basis, to remain out of hospital and nursing home care by providing them with hot, nutricious meals, delivered right to their doors each day. These individuals are afforded the opportunity to stay in their own environment and remain an active part of their families and neighborhoods.

On average, the American Red Cross Meals on Wheels program serves more than 25,000 meals to more than 300 clients each year. A critical need continues to exist for the Meals on Wheels program; the increased number of individuals requesting service daily has proven this need, especially those who are low-income and suffering other disadvantages.

The need for home-delivered meals is great, and is increasing everyday. The residents of Springfield need the continued support of the American Red Cross and the Meals on Wheels program. However, those that cannot afford the cost of a nutritious, special-diet meal are at risk for developing health complications, not recovering completely from surgery and hospitalization and often experiencing a great deal of stress and desperation.

The Meals on Wheels is currently available to individuals within the city limits of Springfield who are physically challenged, chronically ill, elderly, underserved, and those who are in need of short or long-term assistance while recovering from surgery and/or hospitalization.

All meals are prepared and packaged by the staff at Memorial Medical Center, where volunteer delivery drivers pick them up Monday through Friday between 11 and 11:30 p.m. The American Red Cross Meals on Wheels program currently operates 14 routes located throughout the city of Springfield, serving more than 100 meals each day.

The Illinois Capital Area Chapter is consistently seeking individuals, churches and other community organizations to donate their time to the Meals on Wheels program.

For more information about the Red Cross Meals on Wheels program or how to volunteer, please call (217) 522-3357 x225.

Health & Safety Services


For more than a century, the American Red Cross has been saving lives with health and safety education programs. The Illinois Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross offers a variety of Health and Safety services, including training such as First Aid, CPR, Lifeguard Training, AED (Automated External Defibrillation), HIV/AIDS, and Babysitters Training. American Red Cross programs help people live safer and healthier lives. The Red Cross constantly strives to respond to the health and safety concerns of Americans at home, in school and in the workplace.

Community Health & Safety

Corporate Health & Safety


The American Red Cross constantly strives to bring the most relevant and up-to-date training to the workplace.  We have revised our Standard First Aid and Adult CPR programs with a new curriculum featuring concise, easy to read new Workplace Training Booklets and Skills Cards.  The new, streamlined format means shorter instruction time, making it even easier to fit training into already busy schedules.   In addition to the new Standard First Aid/Adult CPR/AED core training courses we have added supplemental modules for specialized training.  These modules include:

These modules focus on common causes of work-site injuries and key health risks in one-hour add-onor stand alone sessions. With these modules we can help you build the health and safety program that is right for your business.

Our certified, professional instructors are available for trainings virtually 24/7.

Why is training important?

In 2002, 4.7 million injuries and illnesses and 5,524 deaths were reported at workplaces throughout the U.S. (US Department of Labor, OSHA) More than 1.6 million Workers’ Compensation claims were filed in just one year. (JosephCanatese, Cutting Health Care Costs, Waste Age, Dec. 1, 2002) Businesses spend $170.9 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses-expenditures that come straight out of a companies profits. (J. Paul Leigh, Stanford Medical Center)


In the time it takes you to read this page, sudden cardiac arrest will have claimed another victim. In the past year, 240,000 Americans died of sudden cardiac arrest: almost one every two minutes. A quarter of these deaths could have been prevented if an automated external defibrillator (AED) had been available for immediate use at the time of the emergency.

Ordinary people can be lifesavers, thanks to AEDs and training from your American Red Cross. AED's are easy-to use, portable devices. By delivering a lifesaving electric shock to the heart, an AED can restore a heart's normal rhythm. Immediate use of an AED, in conjunction with CPR, could save up to 50,000 lives a year.

AEDS are now available in a wide range of settings, including airplanes, office buildings, industrial plants, casinos, golf courses, ski resorts, cruise ships and health clubs.  They are proven to be safe, reliable and effective in preventing unnecessary death from sudden cardiac arrest. Studies have clearly demonstrated that survival rates are high when defibrillation treatment is administered with the first few minutes following sudden cardiac arrest. 

Designed especially for business and industry, the American Red Cross offers courses that train the lay rescuer in the workplace. Courses combine CPR and first aid training with instruction in automated external defibrillation, the two skills needed to save the life of a sudden cardiac arrest victim. We invite you to learn more about this exciting technology and training that could save the life of someone you work with -perhaps even your own life.


Be part of the American Red Cross mission . . . teach Health and Safety Services courses.

Each year the American Red Cross teaches valuable lifesaving skills to nearly 12 million people, approximately 1 in 23 Americans. But we can't do it alone. We need your help because you have a gift you can give to others . . . your time, your knowledge, your experience.

Become an American Red Cross instructor and you can--

Are you the right person for the job?

Here's what we're looking for in American Red Cross instructors. An instructor is a member of a select group of trained and authorized individuals, who reflects the standards and ideals of the American Red Cross. Instructors teach American Red Cross programs within a chapter's jurisdiction and impart knowledge and skills consistent with American Red Cross policies, procedures, standards and guidelines.

As with almost anything it is important to select the appropriate person for the job. This is even more important when selecting individuals to be instructors. Here are some qualities we look for in American Red Cross instructors.



Your American Red Cross needs you! There are many exciting volunteer opportunities with the Illinois Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross that match your interests and skills. As a volunteer you could do the following:

If you would like to volunteer, click on the link below to fill out the volunteer application and email it to the Volunteer Coordinator to inquire about the next Volunteer Orientation. Upcoming volunteer orientations are listed in the Course Activity Brochure.