March Is Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross Month, a time for the American Red Cross to recognize those who give of themselves and in some way help their community.

“Please remember those who help all of us here in Southwestern New York by giving their time to help their neighbors,” said Bill Tucker, executive director of the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York. “We want to thank our heroes during Red Cross Month – our volunteers, blood donors, class takers and financial supporters who help us assist those in need.”

March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month 70 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since 1943, every president, including President Barack Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross is synonymous with helping people, and has been doing so for more than 130 years.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in the United States, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

During just the past six months the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York has responded to 66 local emergencies, assisted more than 100 military families and trained more than 500 people in disaster preparedness. In addition, local donors have donated more than 8,500 units of blood from July 2012 through January 2013.

“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross, and there are many different ways to do it,” Tucker said. “They can develop a preparedness plan for their household, become a Red Cross volunteer, give blood or take a Red Cross class, just to name a few.”

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.

The American Red Cross of Southwestern New York has a number of activities planned for Red Cross Month, including a Savor the Flavor event from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.

The American Red Cross of Southwestern New York is a United Way Agency.