The Red Cross Sent Me an Apron

Yet again, despite repeated efforts to have my name taken off their mailing list, the Red Cross has sent me a package of things I don’t need and cannot use. The paper items can be recycled, and I will add the pen to the many I already have (after all, no-one else wants a pen with my name on it), but I don’t know what to do with the apron or what they describe as work gloves.

After I got over my disgruntlement at receiving yet another Red Cross fundraiser that I had to wrench out of my mailbox, and after I had taken everything out of the envelope to take the above photo, I began to have questions. Do they send aprons to everyone, or only to women? Do they assume everyone/all women should have an apron? Are the “work” gloves really for work or for some light gardening?

Then, I started to wonder what kind of message they had hoped to send and who they thought was their audience. As a former gardener, I thought the light, white, gloves left something to be desired if that was their purpose, so perhaps they are intended for some other kind of work. They have grips on one side, and they would probably be good for holding things; I could use them for opening tight jar lids, or for lifting weights if I had any.

It was the apron that really irked me, though. It is a lightweight half-apron without a bib, so it is not very useful when cooking or baking. It may be intended for carrying small garden or hairdressing tools, I suppose, but either way I have no use for it. The thing that bugged me most, though, is that it indicates a perception of me that I find slightly patronizing. It stereotypes me in a way that I find uncomfortable.

It also sends a very different message from their own leaflet about the active roles of women in improving the lives of others and developing a “society of women leaders.”

Perhaps if the women leaders were shown wearing that apron, I might be more convinced, but I doubt it.


Update 4 April 2023:

I have just received this response from Canadian Red Cross (CRC):

Apr 4, 2023, 15:34 EDT
Dear Anne,

On behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, thank you for your support of our humanitarian work. We understand our donors’ concerns regarding the environmental impact of our solicitations and consistently seek to meet our donors’ expectations. In efforts to reduce our impact, recycled paper stock is used for our mailers. The majority is an FSC (forest sustainable product) mix, meaning that at least 70% of the wood in a product comes from FSC-certified or recycled material. We have also introduced green printing processes including waterless printing, low VOC vegetable-based inks (low volatile organic compounds, meaning less harmful chemicals are let off than traditional inks) and carbon-neutral printing for most mail campaigns.

The reason we mail items such as those you have listed is due to the financial response we receive from donors across the country. The cost to send the items is slightly more than a typical mailer, but the increased level of support we receive more than makes up for it. It is a key contributor that allows us to run our programs and services. Since this approach began in 2011, our donor numbers have quadrupled allowing us to increase our capacity to assist vulnerable personals locally and globally.

The Canadian Red Cross is dutifully committed to honoring the intent of our donors and keeping costs as low as possible to ensure that as much of your financial donation as possible goes directly to response and preparedness efforts to help those affected by emergencies and disasters. The Canadian Red Cross is transparent in our reporting to donors and reports on finances every year in our annual report which is available on our website at

We completely understand that not everyone wishes to receive these items and mails. I have updated our records to reflect the change of our solicitation. However, it is possible that you will receive one or two last communications, as the change will not take effect immediately in our system. Note: your profile indicates that you have 1 more mailed solicitations scheduled for 4/18/2023, beyond which you should not receive further solicitation from the CRC. 

Your reference number: [deleted]

Thank you again for your support of the Canadian Red Cross. If you have any other comments, questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,


  1. It’s ridiculous…and the only thing that would slightly take the edge off of the entire gifting from charities is an image of leading men wearing the apron.

  2. Everything about the apron is weird! Except your suggestion of a picture of all of the board members wearing one. Loved that!😂

  3. And in yesterday’s mail came yet another tote bag to add to the pile of bags I already have. This one from Doctors Without Borders to whom I have never made a contribution. Grrr.

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