The American Red Cross is kicking off its annual Red Cross Month celebration to honor local community heroes who help ensure their neighbors never face crises alone. Red Cross Month is a national tradition that began in March 1943 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first Red Cross Month proclamation — and each U.S. president has followed ever since.

“We’re proud to honor the people in our community who step up to support one another when help can’t wait during emergencies,” said Kimberly Vosseteig, executive director of the Red Cross serving eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. “This help and hope wouldn’t be possible without these community heroes.”

Join the Red Cross Month celebration by visiting to become a volunteer, schedule a blood donation appointment, take a lifesaving skills course or make a financial donation.

Volunteer: Red Cross community heroes include volunteers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. They comprise 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. Last year, trained Red Cross volunteers responded to nearly 1,000 local home fire incidents. In addition, more than 200 local responders deployed last year to care for people affected by Hurricane Ian in Florida, Typhoon Mawar in Guam, flooding in California, tornadoes in the southern U.S. This amounted to more national deployments than any other Red Cross region in the country.

Give Blood: The Minnesota and Dakotas region is among the top blood collection regions in the country, collecting around 220,000 units every year. Blood and platelet donors are heroes helping people in need of lifesaving blood products every day. Healthy individuals are urged to book a time to donate blood as the Red Cross continues to strengthen the national blood supply. As a thank you, all who come to give March 24 will receive a $10 e-gift card to a pet supply merchant of choice, plus be automatically entered for a chance to win a $3,000 gift card. There will be five winners. See for details.

Take a Class: The Red Cross empowers people to learn skills and use them to save lives in emergencies. The Red Cross has been creating courses and training people in first aid for more than 100 years. On average, more than 4.6 million people a year receive Red Cross training in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives. Last year, more than 127,000 people in our region trained in First Aid, CPR & AED, water safety, babysitting, and more.

Donate: It’s only with the generosity of financial donors that the Red Cross humanitarian mission is fulfilled. Individual, corporate and foundation giving supports disaster relief, service the armed forces, international services, blood services and more. Those who donate on March 27 will be part of the 10th annual Red Cross Giving Day, which aims to rally 30,000 supporters nationwide to help provide shelter, food, relief items, emotional support and other assistance for people affected by disasters big and small.