National Red Cross Month encourages volunteer activity, blood donation

OSCEOLA COUNTY — For 133 years, the American Red Cross has helped individuals and families prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Each spring since 1942, starting with Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. President acknowledges the American Red Cross and encourages volunteerism by issuing a proclamation that declares March as Red Cross Month.

”We touch lives down the street, across the country and around the world,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “And it’s individual support that allows us to be there every day for the millions of people who depend on us during their time of need.”

In 1881, 60-year-old Clara Barton launched the American Red Cross based on a European movement that provided relief and protection to wounded soldiers. Now, 133 years later, the Red Cross continues to help individuals and families prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Red Cross Month celebrates the services and volunteers in areas like blood donation, disaster relief, health and safety training, and support to military members and their families.

Red Cross officials say it’s easy to get involved in helping to effect change in your community. Volunteers can give blood, donate their time and talents, or make financial contributions. Nationwide, more than 500,000 volunteers make a difference through Red Cross services.

Locally, the Red Cross blood program supports patients at 58 hospitals across 65 counties. Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. Donated blood helps accident victims, premature infants, those being treated for cancers or blood disorders, and help make routine surgeries possible.

“Whatever way you give – be it through blood donation, volunteerism or financial contribution – you’ll feel good knowing you’re helping to change lives,” Kulman said. “Without people like you, there would be no American Red Cross.”

The following is a list of blood drives in the area through March:

  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 19778 US-10 in Reed City.
  • From 1 to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at New Hope United Methodist Church, 7296 9 Mile Road in Mecosta.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, 605 Oak St. in Big Rapids.
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, at Ferris State University West Campus Community Center, 1414 Family Drive in Big Rapids