Red Cross Month marks time for giving

By Danny Ciamprone

DeKALB | March is here, and it’s time to give your blood to someone.

This month, the American Red Cross is sponsoring Red Cross Month. Besides donating blood, the Red Cross asks for volunteers to donate their time, make a donation or take a class on first aid safety, CPR or emergency preparedness.

Rona Hardt, media relations and development coordinator at the DeKalb County chapter, said there are numerous ways people can help.

“The easiest way would be to make a donation,” Hardt said. “We aren’t funded by the federal government, so all the donations and volunteers we get keeps the organization running.”

According to a press release, the American Red Cross responds nationally to nearly 200 disasters every day. In 2010, the DeKalb County chapter helped around 4,500 people locally.

Besides donations, Hardt said the Red Cross also sends care packages, birthday cards and posters made by kids to U.S. troops overseas.

A good chunk of their time is dedicated to helping veterans, especially those from World War II.

“One of the programs established is trying to assist World War II vets with prescription bills,” Hardt said. “If they show us a bill not covered by insurance, we write them a check.”

March was first designated as American Red Cross month by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. Since then, each president has carried on the tradition.

Sophomore biology major Andy Schuck said if his schedule works, he will definitely make a blood donation.

“I have given blood before,” Schuck said. “I run a lot though so making a donation kind of messes me up, but if the time is right then I will donate.”

Despite a bad experience, junior psychology major Heather Fronczak said she would also donate.

“I have donated before, but last time I got food poisoning the day after, so it was pretty bad,” Fronczak said. “I’ll still donate again, though, because I think it’s important to give.”

Now until the end of March, the DeKalb County chapter will host several volunteer events. This includes blood drives, community classes and survival courses.

“Northern has been very supportive of blood drives,” Hardt said. “I think people are starting to get the word out on us because they know we are not government funded and need all the help we can.”