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Red Cross supports residents through more severe weather

SPRINGFIELD — A tornado, a hurricane, a severe winter storm, or a home fire — they can all bring destruction and chaos to our friends and neighbors, both near and far.
In Massachusetts, residents experienced two major weather related disasters in less than 90 days that had profound and devastating impact.
The American Red Cross is there to serve the disaster related needs of the communities here — but relies on the generous support of the American public to ensure that free disaster relief is available when the time comes.
Hurricane Irene is the most recent reminder of how quickly things can change for families — the flooding has been a major challenge for many, particularly in the northern areas of Berkshire and Franklin counties, where more than 200 families have lost their homes.
The Red Cross has disaster relief operations active in more than a dozen states, and costs are growing by the hour as the Red Cross helps those in need. Current estimates for Red Cross relief for Hurricane Irene are from $10 million to $15 million.
Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.
Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; or text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter, 506 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104; or to American Red Cross Greater Westfield Chapter, 48 Broad St., Westfield, MA 01085; or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.
In addition to inflicting billions of dollars in damage along the East Coast, Hurricane Irene has also affected the blood supply. Since the storm hit, more than 75 blood drives have been cancelled, leading to a shortfall of more than 2,730 units of blood. It is expected that additional blood drives will be postponed.
The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm and asks that people in affected areas consider donating blood once it’s safe to do so. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or go to www.redcrossblood.org.
For more information, visit www.redcross.org .
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