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Helping Red Cross Blood Donors in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains


For more than twenty years, Blanche Stokes has been serving refreshments at blood drive canteens across Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

Stokes is a familiar face to those who come to give blood around the greater Stroudsburg area. They find her waiting for them at the canteen when they’re finished with their donation. However, her job isn’t as simple as it sounds. Canteen volunteers also watch over the blood donors, making sure they are not having any problems after giving blood.

“I think we’re put here to serve one another and this is how I do that,” Stokes explained. “At one time I really needed blood. This is how I give back.”

“Blanche Stokes is the definition of a hard-worker,” said Joanne Kochanski, senior program coordinator for the American Red Cross of Monroe County, PA. “She attends almost every drive throughout the year and brings excitement, passion and cheer to each one. Her love for volunteering speaks volumes when she travels in a snowstorm or the pouring rain to help at a blood drive. She truly brings the spirit of volunteering to every drive.”

High school blood drives are her favorite. “I love to work with the young people and impress upon them how they are helping to save lives,” she said. The Blood Services volunteer explained how important the high school blood donors are to the future of the blood program, and how gratifying it is for her to see these students show up to give blood at drives other than those held at their schools.

“I love working at the canteen and getting out with people,” Blanche said. “My father taught me to help my neighbor and this is my way of doing that.”