Red Cross of Northeast Arkansas' disaster relief center, and blood donation center are currently in two independent locations. Red Cross administrators are working on ways to combine the offices, and reach more people.
"Red Cross used to be synonymous with just one thing," states Dean Hannah, coordinator for disaster preparedness, "it was either blood, or disaster, or services to the armed forces. We're trying to make it known to the community of all the things that we do."
Red Cross disaster volunteers are often on the first line of crises. The center has responded to more than seventy cases involving house fires since the first of December.
Kandi Hart is Red Cross of NEA's lead volunteer for disaster preparedness, and says "Fires happen year-round, and that's by far the biggest disaster that we have statewide. We always need volunteers. We always need people to go out and help in what we call D.A.T. (Red Cross' Disaster Assistant Team).
Blood donations are becoming more demanding. The center is in need of more platelet and plasma donors, as supply has decreased this winter. The center launched The Rapid Pass in an effort to increase donor participation, and reduce the time donors spend at blood drives, by up to fifteen minutes.
Roseanne Miller has donated platelets to Red Cross of NEA for decades. "It takes about two and a half hours," say Miller. To her, it's totally worth it. "I get a little message saying your blood has gone to a hospital to help three people."
The belief is that more will donate and volunteer with one location instead of two. Ongoing Red Cross Drive include the Homefire Campaign, and The Pillowcase Project.