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The American Red Cross has a unique role in serving as the safety net for the American people in their hour of greatest need. Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized in 1905, when Congress chartered the Red Cross to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply that system in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing those calamities."
As a partner of a network of 186 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter was founded in 1916 as a chartered unit of the American National Red Cross and serves the 3.5 million people of Montgomery, Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware and Bucks counties.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Chapter of the American Red Cross is marking more than 95 years of service to Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks Counties. SEPA is one of the largest American Red Cross chapters in the country. SEPA has a long and proud history of providing comfort and relief to those most in need. In addition to providing disaster relief services to thousands of people every year, up until December 2009, SEPA Chapter provided volunteer support to the Penn Jersey Blood Services Region.
In April 2003, SEPA Chapter became the only chapter in the country to have a Red Cross House, a temporary housing facility for victims of disaster.
SEPA Chapter sent hundreds of volunteers to assist following Hurricane Katrina, played an integral support and fundraising role following the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and is consistently honored by local businesses and organizations for its commitment to helping those in need.
As reflected in the Red Cross mission, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter seeks to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to natural and human-caused disasters through the immediate mobilization of people and resources and the provision of community, workplace, and school-based training.
Beyond disaster relief, the Chapter delivers Community Disaster Education, First Aid/CPR, HIV/AIDS prevention, and other types of life-saving health and safety training to thousands of people across our region to help people prevent, prepare, and respond to emergencies. This training targets underprivileged youth and families living in disaster-prone neighborhoods and/or at-risk for negative health outcomes. The Red Cross is also the Congressionally-mandated agent of communication between every person serving in the United States Military and their family members.