The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

November 19, 2012

Reach out through Red Cross during holidays

By Sarah Plummer
For The Fayette Tribune

With the holiday season rapidly approaching and gift-givers looking for the perfect gift, don’t forget the many donations you can make in the name of a friend or loved one in lieu of a traditional present.

Right now the American Red Cross is offering ways to honor our soldiers, many of whom will find themselves celebrating far from loved ones, stationed in remote locations or recuperating in military hospitals.

In the American Red Cross 2012 Holiday Giving Catalog, the Red Cross offers a variety of gifts you can send to military heroes. You can send a phone card to a soldier stationed overseas to help a lonely soldier connect with loved ones.

Military comfort kits include a robe, shower shoes, toothpaste, and MP3 music gift card and other items that bring a warm, personal touch to a soldier who is recovering in the hospital.

And finally, you can sponsor a Red Cross caregiver training course for family and friends of injured heroes returning home from service. This course gives them the confidence and skills they need to care for the loved one they are welcoming home.

View the entire 2012 American Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog online at

But you don’t have to wait until the holiday spirit strikes to give the gift of life.

An increase in donations has helped to stabilize the blood supply in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; however, blood supplies often decline during the holidays and donations are needed.

And just one gift of one pint of blood can help save three lives.

Scott Hill, with the American Red Cross in Beckley, said every two seconds someone in this country needs blood.

“Give the gift of life — It’s a slogan, but it’s what donations do.”

Hill said donors are eligible to give blood every 56 days and he encourages everyone to do so.

“We lost over 11,000 units throughout the American Red Cross because of the storm. Blood drives were canceled because of snow and flooding for about a week.”

With the holidays rapidly approaching, Hill said folks get busy and weather is unpredictable.

“We have to make sure we have enough to meet the need.”

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