The American Red Cross is providing food and a warm place to stay to stranded travelers and those without power following this week’s huge winter storm which affected a large part of the country. And even as it is giving help to many people, the Red Cross is seeking help in the form of blood donations to make up for thousands of donations lost because of this massive storm.
Overnight there were 82 shelters open in eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Connecticut.
But with many people still in need of help with travel severely disrupted and many homes having no power, Red Cross chapters in 19 states are ready to open additional shelters if needed. To find an open Red Cross shelter, people can visit www.redcross.org and click on ‘Find a Shelter,’ or call (800) RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
To help people affected by this winter storm and thousands of other disasters in this country and around the world, visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Meanwhile, the number of blood donations gone uncollected due to severe winter weather rose overnight to more than 28,000. Yesterday alone, nearly 6,200 units of blood and platelets were unable to be collected due to blood drive cancellations from New England to the upper Midwest.
The Red Cross is urging anyone who is eligible to schedule a blood donation time now. People can schedule their donation by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting www.redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed, but there is a special need for donors with O-Negative, A-Negative and B-Negative blood.
To give blood, someone must be 17 years of age or older (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when coming to donate.
Winter Storm Safety Tips
If your power is out, there are things you can do to help ensure your safety until the power is turned back on. Do not use candles for lighting. Use flashlights only. If you are using a portable generator, do not connect it to your home’s electrical system. Instead, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Leave one light turned on so you will know when your power returns. Turn off or disconnect appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out. Surges or spikes when the power comes back on can damage your equipment.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable foods in the refrigerator first. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. Then use food from the freezer, which will hold its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed (24 hours if the freezer is only half full). If it looks like your power will be out for more than a day, use a cooler with ice for food in your freezer.
For more information on how to stay safe and warm during this latest onslaught of winter, visit www.redcross.org.