Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need. To salute the selfless dedication of volunteers that give and advance its noble humanitarian mission, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed the month of March as "American Red Cross Month" during its March 15 meeting.

"For over 90 years, the Jersey Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross, serving Ocean County has enhanced the quality of life through blood drives, 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families, and providing lifesaving courses," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "We want to thank the everyday heroes who volunteer, donate blood, take life-saving courses or provide financial donations to support the American Red Cross's mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies."

Founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross uses everyday heroes to help disaster victims recover, give blood to help trauma victims and hospital patients, deliver comfort items to injured military members, use their life-saving skills to save someone from a heart attack, drowning or choking, and enable children around the globe to be vaccinated against measles and rubella.

During its first 20 years of existence, the American Red Cross was mainly devoted to disaster relief, the first occurrence taking place after a forest fire in Michigan where Barton issued a public appeal for funds and clothing to aid the victims. From there, the American Red Cross would help out victims of disasters across the country and around the world.

"Ocean County truly appreciated the help of the American Red Cross during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "From a simple gesture of offering a cup of hot chocolate, to providing shelter or just offering a calming hand, the American Red Cross delivered comfort to so many effected by the storm."

According to their website, the American Red Cross is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the United States, as well as a leader in research and testing to protect the safety of the blood supply. Today, each year, the Red Cross collects approximately 5.3 million units of blood from roughly 3.1 million donors nationwide, and distributes over 7.7 million blood products for transfusion.

Every March, the American Red Cross honors nearly 700,000 people who volunteer to perform vital services for the organization, as well as more than 4 million blood donors who help build the nation's blood supply, according to the website.

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