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Red Cross Day of Service Projects Help Strengthen Communities

Martin Luther King

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged everyone to serve—a call echoed by President Barack Obama. Red Cross volunteers will answer that call this weekend

WASHINGTON, FRIDAY, January 18 2013 – American Red Cross volunteers across the nation will be working to strengthen the communities in which they live during the upcoming the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and the National Day of Service that kicks off of the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Some volunteers will be giving CPR demonstrations or recruiting blood donors. Others will be giving their neighbors tips on how to prevent home fires and how to escape safely should a fire occur.

“The confluence of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend and the kick off of the Presidential Inauguration with a National Day of Service provides a unique opportunity for volunteer service,” said Jim Starr, vice president, Volunteer Management. “Throughout the weekend, Red Cross volunteers will be engaged in a variety of service activities. Many will be visiting their neighbors to talk about fire safety. Since almost 60 percent of home and apartment fires are caused by cooking or heating, these are disasters that can usually be prevented once people understand how to protect their families.”

Volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods in more than 50 cities across the United States. They will talk to people who are at home, and will leave fire safety door hangers on the doors of people who are not there. The initiative takes place in the dead of winter, the time of the year when the most home fires occur.

This is the sixth year the American Red Cross and partner HOPE worldwide have joined forces to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a fire safety project. HOPE worldwide volunteers have also supported the Red Cross during disasters, and most recently activated more than 1,300 responders in New York and New Jersey to distribute food and water and train community volunteers during Superstorm Sandy.

Contact: Red Cross Public Affairs, Phone: (202) 303-5551,

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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.