Local Red Cross Sends Volunteers East; Asks Community's Help

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, October 29 2012 at 6:12 PM, Updated: Mon, October 29 2012 at 6:40 PM

Some are calling it the worst storm ever in recorded history around the Northeastern region.      

The President already issued states of emergency in a number of states.

In Southern Oregon, the local Red Cross chapter is gearing up to help people across the country.

As Superstorm Sandy gets ready to deal a heavy blow to the Northeast, officials at the Southern Oregon Red Cross said they need volunteers to donate blood.

"With the storm on the East Coast, we've heard of already 100 blood drives closing in 11 states on the East Coast and that resulted in a 3200 unit shortfall for their patients and their hospitals," said Christina Dunlap, Territory Representative for the American Red Cross Blood Services.

Essentially, 3200 units means donations from 3200 people. According to officials, nationwide the Red Cross' blood donations are down...at their worst levels since 1996. However, despite that...

"We have been encouraged to try and ramp our donations up locally. And all unaffected regions in the country have been asked to increase their blood donations," said Dunlap.

As the Southern Oregon chapter works to increase blood donations, two Red Cross volunteers have already left Medford...East Coast bound.

"They went to New York and Philadelphia...they'll be doing initial assessments," said Amy Thuren, Executive Director for the Southern Oregon Chapter of the Red Cross.

16 volunteers across Oregon have been sent and now that getting in and out of the Northeast is becoming difficult and dangerous...

"We're going to wait until the [storm] makes landfall to determine what's needed from us," said Thuren.

In the meantime, officials said there is a way the community can help.

Officials said in this particular situation, donating money is the best way to go as the organization relies on donations. The money will go toward taking care of people in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

To donate money, visit oregonredcross.org.

To find out where the next blood drive will take place, visit www.redcrossblood.org.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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