For nearly 140 years, the American Red Cross has helped the United States military, veterans and their families prepare for, manage and respond to the challenges of service -- and that legacy continues today. The Red Cross commits to serving the military community at every step -- from the time a service member takes the oath to navigating life as a veteran. Serving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Red Cross supports in times of crisis and provides a touch of home while overseas. In hometowns across America to military installations around the world, your Red Cross is there.
Emergency Services -- Hero Care Network
When a military family experiences a crisis, we are there to help.
Both active-duty and community-based military can count on the Red Cross to provide emergency communications that link them with their families during a crisis. This is all done through our Red Cross Hero Care Network. The Hero Care Network is free, confidential and assists 24/7, every day of the year.
If an emergency (such as a serious illness, death or birth) involving an immediate family member takes place, then military families can initiate a request for Red Cross emergency assistance. The message will be verified and then delivered. If the emergency requires leave for a service member, the Red Cross will verify the emergency to the service member’s commanding officer.
Eligibility for emergency leave ultimately will be determined by them. Throughout the process, the family member can track the progress of the message from anywhere in the world online, by phone, through our mobile app or in person.
To best prepare for an emergency, please have this information ready when reporting an emergency message:
- The service member’s name, rank, Social Security number and unit address
- The name of the person with the emergency and the nature of the situation
- The name and contact information for the medical authority to contact regarding the status of the emergency
To access these services through the Hero Care Network, create an account and send the message here or send through the Hero Care app by texting “GETHEROCARE” to 90999 or call a Hero Care specialist at 1-877-272-7337.
Access to Financial Assistance -- Hero Care Network
As part of the Hero Care Network, the Red Cross works with military aid societies to connect eligible military, retired military, veterans and their families with financial assistance in times of hardship. This assistance can include funds for emergency travel, food and shelter. While the Red Cross helps to facilitate the application process, the military aid society determines eligibility and the specific financial assistance package that is offered.
To access these services through the Hero Care Network, create an account and file for assistance here or send through the Hero Care app by texting “GETHEROCARE” to 90999 or call a Hero Care specialist at 1-877-272-7337.
Resiliency Workshops and Military/Veteran Caregiver Network
We offer a variety of free, confidential, online and in-person resiliency workshops. These are all led by licensed mental health professionals. Each workshop seeks to help improve well-being and build skills for PTSD and Coping with Deployments. We also have Reconnection courses for military and veteran families, such as defusing anger, communicating as a family, managing stress and coping skills for kids. Through Mind-Body Workshops, the Red Cross teaches easy-to-use skills that connect the body with the mind to help participants cope with stress and trauma.
The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) is led by caregivers for caregivers. This network offers peer-based support, connection, resources, training and workshops for caregivers to wounded, ill or aging service members and veterans. The MVCN also supports veterans who are in a caregiver role.
The Red Cross understands that COVID-19 continues to impact military and veteran communities. To help safeguard military and veteran families and stop the spread of the virus, we have modified many of our programs to deliver many of the same services but in an adjusted way.
The Hero Care Network is still offering 24/7 emergency services, but our workers and volunteers are working remotely.
The Red Cross is assisting The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) We Care for America Foundation with disbursing interest-free loans to National Guard personnel through the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces’ Hero Care Center’s electronic fund distribution process. The donation will be distributed to National Guard members and families that have a verified financial need due to hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications can be submitted here. Loans are available in amounts from $500 to $2,000, and repayment terms are based on the loan amount.
All resiliency courses and workshops are now virtual. Courses are available for military and veteran families, including classes for military kids. These courses focus on combating stress and trauma related to the military and veteran community. There also are courses that help with communication and reconnection for military parents and children. There are courses for military teens needing coping methods for dealing with stress. Finally, we also have launched a COVID-19 specific online course for service members, veterans and military families that need help dealing with stress specific to COVID-19. It also focuses on creating a communication plan and goals while quarantined.
The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network is offering online communities and virtual workshops [OE4] for caregivers of injured military and veterans to socialize and learn tips for caring for your injured service member or veteran.
All Red Cross pre-deployment briefings are now virtual.
Volunteers are continuing to help at veteran and military hospitals as requested by the hospitals, including professional clinical volunteers and non-clinical volunteers.
In Europe, volunteers are assisting military installations with contact tracing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
We are calling on anyone who can sew to help us sew face coverings that we will distribute to all military/veteran hospitals and military installations in need for our SAF Face Covering Project. We are distributing comfort kits to military and veteran hospitals and quarantined military families in need.
Socially distanced animal visitations are taking place for military families, veterans and medical staff outside of military and veteran hospitals.
Information and Community Resources
Our worldwide network of offices can assist you with information and referrals to national and local resources. The Red Cross is a part of local communities and can identify where resources are available. For assistance, contact your local Red Cross.
When disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there, responding to emergencies, helping military families who have been severely affected. Contact the Red Cross at 877-272-7337 for assistance.
Domestic and International Training Available
The Red Cross also offers training to help prepare military families for emergencies and to enhance employment skills.
In partnership with many U.S. military installations across the globe, the Red Cross offers dental, pharmacy technician and medical assistant training programs.
To best prepare for emergencies, the Red Cross offers: CPR/AED training (infant, child and adult), first-aid training, lifeguarding, water safety instruction and babysitter training. Contact your local Red Cross to see if any of this training is available in your community.
Volunteer Opportunities -- In the U.S. and Around the World
The Red Cross depends on volunteers to help meet the needs of military and veteran communities across the globe. Many of our volunteers include military family members looking for an opportunity to support their community. Volunteering is a great way to help while building your résumé.
The Red Cross has clinical and non-clinical volunteer opportunities in veteran and military hospitals, helping to provide care, comfort and therapy items at veteran hospitals and military treatment facilities. For example, medical volunteers, such as certified doctors and nurses, help support hospital staff, which frees up time for them to focus on priority patients. Non-medical volunteers help with a variety of programs, including manning coffee and snack stations and book carts; providing art and garden therapy classes; assisting with animal visitation programs; and distributing care and comfort items.
Volunteers also support our mission by facilitating in-person and online resiliency workshops, running job training courses for military spouses, picking up and distributing Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) cards, meeting with new military family members to share deployment education information, disaster response coordinators, CPR and first aid instructors and so much more.
Contact your local Red Cross for information on opportunities in your community.