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Local Red Cross has big plans for 72nd annual “March is Red Cross Month”

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PHILADELPHIA, FEBRUARY 28, 2014 — In honor of the 72nd annual “March is Red Cross Month,” all month long the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) will launch several initiatives, bask in the glow of many Philadelphia landmarks lit up in red, and host several events, including its signature event, the Red Ball, presented by Independence Blue Cross.

“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to support our mission,” American Red Cross SEPA CEO Renee Cardwell Hughes said. “Because the Red Cross is not a government agency and not funded by the government, we rely on the public’s kindness and generosity to do our work, here at home and around the globe.”

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began a presidential tradition of naming March as National Red Cross Month. At that time, he encouraged Americans to “rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.”

While the winter is always a busy time of the year for the Red Cross, this winter has been especially challenging. In January, SEPA responded to 129 disasters, helping 234 adults and 136 kids. This followed a record-setting November and December, when Red Cross responded in frigid and dangerous weather conditions to 190 disasters, helping 763 people. Between December 10 and January 10, SEPA’s one-of-a-kind Red Cross housed 87 people in 33 families. February has been equally challenging. Record level snows, an ice storm, massive power outages, and a 100 car pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike were just some of the dozens of disasters requiring Red Cross assistance.

Last year, SEPA responded to more than 730 disasters, assisted nearly 1,100 families (3,293 people) in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

SEPA has many events planned for “March is Red Cross Month. On March 8th, SEPA will host its 14th annual Red Ball, presented by Independence Blue Cross, gala at the Please Touch Museum. On March 11th, 50 SEPA employees and volunteers will take part in an event honoring the Red Cross in Harrisburg. Later in the month, Philadelphia City Council will recognize the work of the local Red Cross during a ceremony at City Hall. The region’s county councils and commissions also plan similar recognition ceremonies.

Red Cross flags will fly in Center City Philadelphia, downtown Media, PA and downtown West Chester, PA. Wawa will once again sponsor a Red Cross awareness campaign that includes providing a special March is Red Cross Month sleeve for its coffee cups. Dozens of SEPTA buses will have March is Red Cross Month messages, courtesy of Lundy Law. The Delaware River Port Authority will also once again light up the Ben Franklin Bridge in red most of the month, in honor of the work of the American Red Cross. A giant Red Cross will light the side of Cira Centre much of the month and PECO’s Crown Lights will also share messages of support for the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross is there to help whenever disaster strikes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no matter the weather or circumstances,” Hughes said. “The lights and flags will be symbolic visual reminders of the vital work the Red Cross does every day that largely goes unnoticed,” said Judge Hughes.

Special note: Stories can be tailored to your needs. For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact Dave Schrader, 215-299-4042. To learn more about Red Cross Month and the daily work of the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania, visit www.redcrossphilly.org.

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About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org, redcrossphilly.org or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross or @redcrossphilly.