CHICAGO, June 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross today recognized Kraft Foods Group Foundation for its support of disaster response work through the Annual Disaster Giving Program and a gift of five first-of-its-kind energy efficient emergency response vehicles. The new fleet features technology that will help the Red Cross increase service delivery of food and supplies to people affected by disasters.
One of the new vehicles has already been deployed by the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois as a result of this week's severe storms in Illinois. The chapter, which serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties in Northern Illinois, is celebrating 100 years of service to the Chicago region in 2015.
"When disaster strikes, like the severe storms that hit Coal City and other communities in Northern Illinois this week, Red Cross disaster workers climb into emergency response vehicles and travel through neighborhoods of those in need, providing food, water and comfort," said Richard Reed, senior vice president for Disaster Cycle Services of the American Red Cross. "Thanks to the generous support of Kraft Foods Group Foundation, we are adding five new vehicles to our fleet that will help reach people in need."
Kraft Foods Group Foundation is one of the first corporate partners to work with the American Red Cross on the new emergency efficient models which:
have lower maintenance costs,
are more fuel efficient,
are easier to drive,
and provide ample storage room for food and water, as well as clean-up supplies such as rakes, shovels, and work gloves.
The new vehicles are designed to be adjustable to adapt to disasters large and small. For example, modular features allow the vehicle to quickly transform so that volunteers can either serve thousands of meals a day after a tornado or meet one-on-one with a family displaced by a home fire.
The Red Cross currently has more than 320 emergency response vehicles in 49 states that help people in need after disasters of any size, whether it's coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy or every day home fires down the street.
"The Kraft Foods Group Foundation is privileged to be able to assist in helping communities in times of need," said Leah Bradford, President, Kraft Foods Group Foundation. "At Kraft, we believe everyone deserves good food and beverages. We are committed to leveraging our capabilities to foster innovative and sustainable solutions in the fight against hunger. The new and improved emergency response vehicles will enhance Red Cross disaster response efforts by increasing access to food and beverages for families impacted by disasters. With our roots in Chicago, we are especially excited to donate a vehicle to the Chicago Region as they celebrate their 100th birthday."
Over the next decade, the Red Cross expects to replace and potentially increase the current fleet while saving millions of dollars by switching to a more effective vehicle platform with reduced maintenance costs.
The Red Cross has a long history of providing help and comfort from mobile vehicles. In 1898, Clara Barton used a wagon as an ambulance for her work on the battlefield. During World War II, the Red Cross used clubmobiles to support U.S. servicemen. The Red Cross began to standardize the organization's disaster response vehicles around an ambulance design in 1984. Prior to the 1984 initiative, the Red Cross used converted bread trucks, station wagons and pickup trucks to deliver meals and snacks after disasters. The new fleet represents the next generation of these historic response vehicles and will bring help and hope to those in need.
Kraft Foods Group Foundation became a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) in 2012. ADGP partners provide the Red Cross with financial resources in advance of major disasters so the organization can quickly mobilize. Kraft is also a member of the American Red Cross Ready When The Time Comes, a workplace volunteer initiative established in Chicago in 2001 that trains employees from partnering corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
"The generous donations from Annual Disaster Giving Program members help the Red Cross assist disaster survivors and support volunteers who work tirelessly at the disaster scene," said Neal Litvak, American Red Cross chief development officer. "All money donated by the program members and by the general public is essential to our ability to fulfill the mission of the Red Cross."
SUPPORT HELPS RED CROSS BE PREPARED The generous donations from Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) members enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process. People can join the Annual Disaster Giving Program members in supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief and help provide food, shelter, emotional support and other assistance to the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make a donation.
The ADGP members are: Wells Fargo; Wawa; Walmart; VSP℠Vision care for life; UPS; United Technologies Corporation; United Airlines; The TJX Companies, Inc.; The Home Depot; Target; Sunoco; State Farm; Sprint; Southwest Airlines; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Samsung; Prudential Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Nationwide Insurance Foundation; National Grid; Mondelez International Foundation; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meijer; Medtronic; Mazda North American Operations; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; LDS Charities; Kraft Foods Group Foundation; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; Johnson Controls; John Deere Foundation; Humble Bundle; Grainger; Ford Motor Company; FedEx Corporation; Edison International; Dr Pepper Snapple Group; Disney; Discover; Darden Restaurants Foundation; Costco Wholesale; ConAgra Foods Foundation; Citi Foundation; Cisco Foundation; Caterpillar Foundation; Capital One; BNY Mellon; Bank of America; Aon; Anthem Foundation; Anheuser Busch Foundation; American Express; American Airlines; Altria Group; 3M.
100 YEARS SERVING CHICAGO The American Red Cross is celebrating 100 years of serving Chicago in 2015. For the past century, the Red Cross has been there for people in the Chicago area during the moments when they needed us. Since our chapter was chartered in 1915, we have helped millions of people affected by local disasters including home fires, floods, tornadoes and seasonal emergencies. From health and safety classes, to lifesaving blood collection and support of military members, their families and veterans, the Red Cross has helped make our community safer and more prepared for what may come in the next 100 years. Join us during the 2015 Red Cross Centennial: Volunteer, Donate, Celebrate.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.orgor visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About the Kraft Foods Group Foundation At the Kraft Foods Group Foundation, we believe everyone deserves good food and beverages. As food and nutrition are at the center of our expertise, we focus our efforts on seeding innovative and sustainable solutions to hunger and providing humanitarian aid when disaster strikes. We work with nonprofit partners across North America to help ensure healthy and vibrant communities.