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March is Red Cross Month, New Jersey Recognizes Everyday Heroes

PRINCETON, NJ, February 26, 2015 – March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the everyday heroes who reach out to help their neighbors in need. 

“From our volunteers to our blood donors to our financial supporters, we are grateful for all of the everyday heroes who help fulfil the Red Cross mission here in New Jersey,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “During Red Cross Month we thank our heroes for their service and encourage everyone to discover their inner hero by giving time to help people in our community.”

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for more than 70 years. Since 1943, all of our presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military and their families at home and around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills. Nationally the Red Cross has nearly 350,000 volunteers, which represent more than 93 percent of the Red Cross workforce.

In the North Jersey Region, more than 3,330 Red Cross volunteers are out in the community providing lifesaving health and safety training; supporting the military and veterans; coordinating blood drives; and responding to local disasters, including home fires. 

Volunteers Respond to 100 Home Fires in 2015
Since the turn of the New Year, volunteer members of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) have responded to 100 home fires across the northern half of the state to offer comfort and support to their neighbors when they need it most. Volunteers provided Red Cross emergency assistance for immediate needs such as shelter, food, clothing, coats, shoes and infant supplies to help the 784 people in 260 families affected by home fires since January 1. Red Cross volunteers remain available to the families for support, counseling and referrals to local agencies that can help provide long-term assistance during their recovery.

“We are grateful for the meaningful work our volunteers do to help those in our community who have experienced devastating home fires,” said Nelessen. “Their compassion and willingness to jump out of bed in the middle of the night and rush out into brutally cold conditions to help others when they need it most truly embodies the spirit of the American Red Cross.”

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

To support home fire survivors across the country, the Red Cross launched the #GiveWhatFireTakes campaign. Donors nationwide have the opportunity to support Red Cross relief efforts by making a donation to help families after a home fire. #GiveWhatFireTakes could turn generosity today into tangible items tomorrow for those in need. To help the Red Cross #GiveWhatFireTakes, visit redcross.org/donate/home-fires.

People in New Jersey can also help support Red Cross programs and services while filing their 2014 NJ State Tax Returns. Donations can be made to the American Red Cross-NJ Fund by checking Line 64 on the NJ-1040 Form and entering Code 14.

To volunteer or learn more about Red Cross programs and services, visit redcross.org/NorthJerseyRegion

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.

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region 
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 3,330 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 494 local home fires, helping 1,130 displaced families; collected 25,420 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,877 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 60,441 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.

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Contacts:
American Red Cross North Jersey Region  
Diane Concannon, 609-206-4043 (cell)
diane.concannon@redcross.org
Erica Viviani, 973-309-3479 (cell)
erica.viviani@redcross.org 
@RedCrossNorthNJ