While people are thinking about what kind of gifts to give this holiday season, folks at the American Red Cross want to remind you that some gifts don't necessarily need to be wrapped to be appreciated, like the gift of a blood donation!

Sergey Pakulin
Sergey Pakulin


Jennifer Costa, Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross, says this year has been a particularly difficult year for the organization because there were so many natural disasters.

"During this time of year, our biggest needs are for financial gifts and blood donations."

hand giving red heart for help blood donation hospital or healthcare concept.

Costa says in Maine alone, there were over 200 fires that displaced over 800 people this year.

"Locally, Red Cross disaster volunteers continued working 24/7 to help Mainers affected by local home fires, the nation’s most frequent disaster. In 2023, our Disaster Action Teams assisted 802 people after 222 home fires in Maine. These same teams doubled down on home fire prevention efforts by installing at least 944 free smoke alarms in homes across the state this year. These services are provided at no cost thanks to community support from generous donors."

Mario Tama - Getty Image
Mario Tama - Getty Image

And when it comes to blood donations, Costa says they are trying to get the word out, to inspire people to give, so they don't end up with a shortage going into the New Year.

"The Red Cross, which supplies 40% of the nation’s blood, must collect 152 pints of whole blood every day in Maine to meet patient demand, which translates to 1,064 Maine donors every week. A sluggish December can often lead to a January blood shortage. We are working hard to prevent that."

Doctor holding small paper with blood donation time

Costa says it's so important, now more than ever, to make an effort to go out and donate.

"Making and keeping appointments throughout the month can help safeguard the national blood supply into the new year. Schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)."

Happy Smiling Blood Donors Making Donation In Hospital
monkeybusinessimages, ThinkStock

You can also make a monetary donation this holiday season, which Costa says will go to helping local families impacted by a tragedy. Donate here: redcross.org/Donate.

"You can help provide comfort and relief to someone after they’ve lost everything.­­ With a gift of $50 to the American Red Cross, you can provide one person with a full day of emergency shelter after a devastating disaster. Your generous gift can provide a safe place to stay, warm meals, essential relief items and so much more to someone who lost everything after a disaster."

Blood Donation
Joern Pollex, Getty Images

Here's a list of some local Red Cross Blood Drives happening this month:

Bar Harbor
12/29/2023: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center, 119 Eden Street

12/26/2023: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Ellsworth Elks Lodge 2743, 317 High Street


12/18/2023: 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Augusta Elks, 397 Civic Center Drive, P.O. Box 2206

12/16/2023: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 109 Spring Street


12/28/2023: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Rockland American Legion, 335 Limerock Street


12/16/2023: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Bangor Blood Donation Center, 900B Hammond Street

12/21/2023: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., The Graham Building, 84 Harlow Street

12/26/2023: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Bangor Mall, 663 Stillwater Ave

12/30/2023: 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Bangor Mall, 663 Stillwater Ave

12/20/2023: 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Corinna UMC, 16 Dexter Rd

12/19/2023: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., VFW Hampden, Canoe Club Rd

Dover Foxcroft

12/22/2023: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Central Hall Commons, 152 E Main St., Sponsored by Northern Light Mayo Hospital

12/27/2023: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Steelworkers Union Hall, 653 Waterville Rd

12/28/2023: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Belfast Boat House, 34 Commercial St.

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