March marks Red Cross month

March is Red Cross Month and the local chapter of the American Red Cross is celebrating with different events.

“Red Cross Month is a great reminder of all the great things the Red Cross does,” said Kara Kelly, Red Cross regional communications officer. “It’s just a time when we recognize our everyday heroes and people in our communities who go above and beyond to help those in need.”

Steve Hoffman, chair of the local Red Cross board, said the Red Cross assists anyone in time of need.

“If I were to sustain a house fire this evening and I’m without clothing and shelter, my insurance company isn’t able to do anything for me tonight, but the Red Cross will be there,” Hoffman said.

The Iowa Rivers chapter of the Red Cross serves Marshall, Tama, Hardin, Jasper and Poweshiek counties.

In fiscal year 2013, the Iowa Rivers chapter responded to 22 disasters, provided food, clothing and shelter to 110 people, trained 3,202 people in CPR, first-aid, AED and life-saving water safety skills.

“Red Cross month is also a great reminder about becoming a part of the Red Cross and all of the things you can do even on your own,” Kelly said.

A Red Cross blood drive will be held from noon to 5 p.m. March 5 at the Fisher Community Center. Bianca Greazel, local board member, said she is seeking donors.

“It seems like there is always a need for blood and it’s something that most anyone can help with,” Greazel said. “It’s easily done and takes just a small amount of time.”

Those interested in donating blood can sign up online at www.redcross.org or call Pami Erickson, Red Cross chapter support officer at 319-423-0600.

In addition to the blood drive, a Red Cross donor appreciation event will be held at John Ernest Vineyard in Tama from 6 to 8 p.m. March 28.

“It’s called the Celebration of Giving,” Erickson said. “It’s to show appreciation in our community for those who have donated to the Red Cross over the years.”

The event is free. To RSVP contact Erickson.

A Red Cross intern from the University of Northern Iowa will also be making presentations to area schools throughout the month to speak about tornado and fire preparedness, Erickson said.

“Interested schools can call me and we’ll get them on the list,” Erickson said.

In addition to donors, other volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross are available.

Those interested in volunteer or volunteer training can visit the Red Cross website, www.redcross.org to learn about different opportunities.