REGION – March has been designated Red Cross Month for more than 70 years in the nation.

It celebrates the volunteers of the Red Cross for all of their efforts.

On Thursday a blood drive was held at Ladore Lodge in Waymart to kick off the month of giving.

Fire time donor Daniel Padgett said he “felt good” that he was giving blood.

“I always thought about donating,” he said. “I saw this drive and thought, 'why not now.' It was a good opportunity.”

Michele Baehr, executive director for the American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains, said the community has many people who help those in need.

The American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains serves Monroe, Carbon, Pike and Wayne Counties.

“They are our selfless Red Cross volunteers, blood donors and financial contributors who bring rescue to people facing life’s emergencies,” she said in a release.

“During Red Cross Month, we thank them for their tremendous support.”

Helping out

Red Cross Month has been supported by each United States president.

The Red Cross is not solely involved with running blood drives. Volunteers also respond to community disasters such as a house fire.

They provide shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected.

There is also 24-hour support for military members, veterans and their families around the world.

According to the Red Cross, approximately 14,000 units of blood must be collected each day to fulfill needs throughout the country.

Members of the Red Cross also receive training in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills. The organization also supports vaccinating children against measles and rubella.

“It’s easy to become a Red Cross community hero,” said Baehr. “Be ready for an emergency by creating a preparedness plan for your home.

“Test your smoke alarms and tell your neighbors to do the same. Or sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer, or make a financial donation.”

According to statistics from the Pocono Mountains Red Cross, last year it responded to 81 local emergencies, assisted 295 people who suffered a disaster and engaged 227 volunteers.

Upcoming events

In honor of Red Cross Month the Pocono Mountains Red Cross has various activities planned throughout the region.

On March 20 from 4-9 p.m. the annual telethon will be held. It will air on BRCTV Channel 13.

State Senators Lisa Baker and Mario Scavello will be among the legislators present.

Money raised will go to support those in the region who experience a disaster.

For more information call (570) 476-3800.

Upcoming blood drives by Wayne County include:

• March 7-The Inn at Woodloch Pines, 731 Welcome Lake Road, Hawley, 1-6 p.m.

• March 26-Tafton Fire Hall, State Route 507, Tafton, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Support

The Red Cross relies on donations with anything from volunteers, monetary contributions and blood in order to help the community.

It is not a government agency that receives funding.

For more information on the Red Cross and how to support the organization, visit www.redcross.org.

The Red Cross states that 91 cents on every dollar is used for humanitarian services and programs.

Information from a release was used in this story.