Red Cross seeks blood, aid for storm victims

The Benton-Franklin chapter of the American Red Cross is seeking cash and blood donations to help victims of the winter storm that struck most of the United States during the past several days.

The Red Cross is offering food and shelter to people in 19 states, and five disaster warehouses are standing by to ship supplies wherever needed.

"Red Cross chapters across the country are opening shelters to provide hot meals and safe places to stay to stranded motorists, or those who have had to leave their homes," said Jeanne Jelke, executive director of the Benton-Franklin chapter.

"This storm is projected to affect a third of the population of this country, and we are lending a hand where needed," Jelke said. "While our region is outside the path of this storm, financial donations will make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to future needs."

Blood donations also are needed since drives have been canceled in regions affected by the storm, a news release said.

To make a cash donation or schedule a blood donation, call 800-RED-CROSS or 800-733-2767, or go to