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Give Something That Means Something

PRINCETON, NJ, December 6, 2013 – The holidays are drawing near and most people are making plans to enjoy the season with their loved ones. But for many, the holiday season will be a very difficult time. The American Red Cross is asking people to remember those in need this year by giving something meaningful – giving hope to those in need.

Disasters affected thousands of people this year. Whether a home fire or a major disaster, many lost everything they owned. Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in this country and a financial donation can help the nearly 70,000 people who turn to the Red Cross every year for assistance with disasters big and small.

“Since November 1st, we have responded to 40 home fires, helping 120 families – more than 370 people – with emergency assistance for temporary lodging, food and seasonal clothing following home fires in our region,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Make the holiday season truly meaningful by lending a hand to people who need your help.”

As people look for meaningful gifts this year, the Red Cross invites everyone to visit where they can purchase a variety of symbolic gifts in the name of the people on their gift list this year. Shoppers can buy things like infant care kits for babies in emergency shelters, comfort kits for wounded warriors, or water containers used when natural disasters disrupt a community’s water supply overseas. Catalog purchases come with greeting cards shoppers can send to a friend or loved one, letting them know a donation has been made in their name. The purchase of each gift item is a tax-deductible contribution that supports the mission of the Red Cross.

Other ways people can give something meaningful this holiday season include donating blood and volunteering.

BLOOD SERVICES As many as 44,000 blood donations are needed every day across the country to meet the needs of hospital patients. During the holiday season, it is very difficult to collect enough blood for those who need it. People get busy with their holiday preparations and celebrations and giving blood is not a priority. A blood donation to the Red Cross can save up to three lives.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER One of the greatest gifts someone can give is the gift of time by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. There are many ways someone can volunteer with the Red Cross in their local community. Visit the “Ways to Volunteer” information on the Red Cross website to learn how.

“We ask people to remember all those who are looking to the Red Cross for help and be generous this holiday season,” Nelessen said.

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

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 3,000 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 485 local home fires, helping 1,269 displaced families; collected more than 26,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,985 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 79,341 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.

About our Holiday Partners:

During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: Circle K and its customers in the West and Florida divisions, Community Safety Foundation, funded by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Mazda and its Dealers nationwide and University of Phoenix. Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit


Diane Concannon, American Red Cross North Jersey Region

609-206-4043 (cell),