Give blood at the Minnesota State Fair

msf2013_bloodMobileMAP-smallThe Minnesota State Fair is your chance to hit the rides, grab some food and help save lives! Every day at the fair is a chance to give hope. By giving blood through the Red Cross, donors offer people who need blood a chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.

As a thank you, all presenting donors will receive a special Red Cross gift. And to help increase donations over Labor Day weekend, all presenting blood donors from Sept. 5 through Sept. 7 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last!

To make an appointment or for more information in advance of the fair, you can book your appointment via the Red Cross blood donation webpage (use sponsor code MN State Fair), the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

At the fair, you can find the Red Cross bloodmobile parked outside the agriculture and horticulture building, just west of the space tower. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be able to donate blood.

#ChooseYourDay to #RestocktheShelves and help save lives during the 2015 Great Minnesota Get Together!

P.S. Look for more Red Cross activities at the Minnesota State Fair on August 29 during Governor’s Fire Prevention Day and on September 1 during Military Appreciation Day!

 

From Pints to Preparedness

More than 1.8 million people visited this year’s Minnesota State Fair. And in-between eating cheese curds and visiting the animal barns, some made their way to engage with the American Red Cross, making this year’s fair a great one for our region, too! Below are highlights from our participation this year. This outreach would have been absolutely 100 percent impossible without Red Cross volunteers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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2014 Minnesota State Fair

 

 

 

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  • Dozens of children and adults practiced house fire safety on the Governor’s Fire Prevention Day

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  • 168 people gave 684 volunteer hours to our state fair outreach programs

 

 

 

We’ll see you next year at the Great Minnesota Get Together. Meanwhile, download this Make_a_Plan_Flyer and start working on your own disaster preparedness plan.

Who Doesn’t Love Kittens?

During your visit to the 2013 Minnesota State Fair, take time to stop by our booth in the Health Fair 11 building on the corner of Dan Patch & Cooper, play our Disaster Draw Down game and get this cool “CAT-astrophe” magnet. MEEE-YOWWW!

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Be Red Cross Ready at the Fair

The American Red Cross  is counting on Minnesota state fair-goers to prepare our community for emergencies by helping replenish summer blood supplies and learning how to build an emergency preparedness kit at the Red Cross booth in the Health Fair 11 building. Currently, all blood types are needed and the Red Cross is hoping to boost inventory before and during the Labor Day holiday weekend.  New this year, fair-goers can race against the clock during a “disaster,” grabbing necessities and then learning how to prepare before disaster strikes.  Free blood pressure screenings will be available again this year.

WHAT: Give Blood – Give Life

WHEN:  Saturday, August 25; Sunday, August 26; Friday, August 31; Saturday, September 1 and Sunday, September 2,  9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day (5)

WHERE: Just inside Gate 7, alongside the Dairy Building on Underwood Street
(It’s easy to remember – we’re right across from the Haunted House. Give us your blood instead of the vampires.)

HOW: Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. Or, just stop by. Walk-ins are welcome.

But wait! There’s more!

WHAT: Be Red Cross Ready – Learn how to build an emergency preparedness kit and have your blood pressure screened. (We suggest getting a screening before you eat cheese curds!)

WHEN:  Every day of the fair! 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Health Fair 11 building on Dan Patch and Cooper

See you soon! Woot! Woot!

Red Cross shelter night shift suits former theater manager

Red Cross shelter night manager Sharon Collin says that she prefers volunteering during the night shift because "it's when you get to know the people and talk through the day." Sharon and McKai have a nightly chat. Photo credit: Amanda Mark/American Red Cross

Red Cross volunteer Sharon Collin is a natural organizer. A former movie theater manager, accountant and school teacher, she’s at ease while directing the flow of traffic that comes through the North Commons Recreation Center where the Red Cross shelter is housed.

Sharon is the night manager at this Red Cross shelter where 43 residents are attempting to rebuild their lives after the May 22 tornado destroyed blocks of North Minneapolis. One week into working at this shelter and Sharon has her routine down.

“I’m calling it organized disorder,” she says. “People are welcomed to come and go as they like as we try to create normalcy in the abnormal.”

Nearly all at once, Sharon sends someone to the snack room, finds a caseworker for another shelter resident, and hugs three kids in between the two tasks, promising one that she’ll tuck her in later.

“We have a lights out time,” she explained. “But one man works nights. Other people are night owls. I offer to fix snacks and hot meals during the night as people come through.”

Red Cross shelter night manager Sharon Collin shares a quiet moment with Willtin, 4. Photo credit: Amanda Mark/American Red Cross

While Sharon has responsibilities and organizational tasks to ensure that the shelter runs smoothly, she says she spends most of her time listening.

“No one wants to be here,” she said. “I listen to where they’re at, answer Red Cross questions, and match them up with services so they can move forward.”

Sharon travelled from Cumberland Foreside, Maine, to be the shelter night manager. She’s volunteered for the Red Cross in various ways for the past 6 years: working on disaster teams, supporting call centers and filling in any way she can, but her favorite assignment is working at shelters.

“People often enter a shelter at their lowest point. Red Cross volunteers enter a shelter, fresh with adrenaline and ready to help. Sometimes that’s really what people need. Someone to support them and provide the energy they don’t have.”

(Reporting and photos by Amanda Mark, Red Cross Volunteer)

Red Cross shelter day three…working through the emotional stuff

by Andrea Bredow and Mark Smith, Twin Cities Red Cross Volunteers

When fire broke out on an early morning in Bloomington, Minnesota, a family of four found the only way to escape to safety was to break the second floor window, drop the oldest child out the window and then have her catch her two younger siblings. She caught one by the leg and the other around waist.  Not only is everything she owned now gone, she is also experiencing emotional reactions from an event no school aged girl should ever have to go through. The American Red Cross Disaster Stress Team steps in to help victims like this young girl work through the emotions from a traumatic life event.

On a sub-zero morning, people jumped out windows to escape this burning apartment building near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo credit: Anne Florenzano/American Red Cross

Cay Shea Hellervik, a member of the disaster response stress team, is one of many volunteers at the Bloomington shelter helping the residents from the apartment fire get back on their feet.  As important as finding clothes, shelter and food after a tragic event so is dealing with the event its self and all the emotions that come with a major life tragedy. Cay says it is important to have someone around who wants to listen.

“It is important to talk through what they just experienced when it is still vivid,” says Cay.

When she first arrives at a shelter, Cay checks with the manager and other volunteers to get a general feel for who may need to talk to the stress team.

“I make sure I touch base with everyone, asking how they are doing, how they are feeling and get them to talk through the event, ” says Cay.

For many, a step in the healing process is getting back in their routine. One young girl in the shelter was concerned about missing school, the problem; she only had the pajamas full of soot from the fire. Cay realized returning to her regular schedule was important for the young girl. Cay and the pastor from the church where fire victims are staying found clothes the church had on hand. A phone call was made to the school district and with in 15 minutes the young girl was dressed and ready for the yellow school bus that arrived at the shelter. Cay noticed a tear run down the girls face as she stepped on the bus as she return to her “normal” schedule.

Play time with a Red Cross volunteer helps children heal after a traumatic fire disaster near Minneapolis, Minnesota, which displaced more than 30 people. Photo credit: Cathryn Kennedy/American Red Cross

Along with her professional background in psychology, Cay credits the training the Red Cross provides.

“Red Cross training is so important and prepares you so well for events like this,” says Cay.

All members of the stress team are all trained degreed professionals, but Cay challenges this community to “join the Red Cross regardless of your training, find out what your roll could be and use the great knowledge and training of the Red Cross to contribute to the community.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities, please visit redcrosstc.org.