PARTIES: Saluting Humanitarians And Raising Relief Funds

American Red Cross Gala

Attendees: 1,800 virtual viewers
Impact: $215K for disaster mission programs

From consecutive years of un-­precedented wildfires to the COVID-19 crisis, economic distress and other disasters, the Northern California division of the American Red Cross has been working overtime the last few years.

So for the 26th Red Cross Gala on March 24, event chairs Meredith Kendall Maines and Lillian Phan Pickering rallied their virtual troops to raise funds for disaster relief programs and the life-saving services provided by this humanitarian organization.

Mayor London Breed beamed in, paying tribute to the die-hard devotion of this Red Cross regional chapter — along with messages of thanks from San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, Oakland A’s President David Kaval and former Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky, now a community ambassador for the team.

The online event, emceed by Juliette Vara and Jennifer Adrio, CEO of the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region, also honored local heroes.

Eric Reinbold, chief of police of the town of Paradise, was honored as the organization’s 2020 Humanitarian Philanthropist of the Year. Reinbold was appointed to his position in September 2018 — just two months before the raging Camp Fire (the most destructive wildfire in California’s history) decimated 95 percent of his hometown and killed 85 neighbors.

The Clorox Company, led by CEO Linda Rendle, was recognized as the 2020 Humanitarian Company of the Year for its foundation, which granted more than $1 million to bolster Red Cross’ COVID-19 relief efforts.

“Our community is like an extended family. And we had a missing persons list of well over 2,500 people,” recalls Chief Reinbold. “I was so impressed how quickly the Red Cross rolled out, setting up a shelter at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. All the resources, emotional support and hope available to people who were displaced or lost homes was amazing. Even people with pets — it was like a mini animal shelter.”

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