KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The start of March also brings a celebration of the American Red Cross. President Roosevelt first declared the month of March as Red Cross Month more than 80 years ago. Fast forward to 2023, many Red Cross chapters across the nation will celebrate their volunteers, including in East Tennessee.

Sharon Hudson, the Executive Director of the East Tennessee Red Cross Chapter, shared how in the organization’s 140-year history it has helped in many capacities, both at home and abroad.

“We provide food, shelter, and emotional support, we teach those skills that save lives, we provide nearly half the nation’s blood supply, we support our military and their families,” Hudson said. “Whether it’s helping families internationally in Ukraine or helping a military member.”

Hudson also stated the organization responds to more than 60,000 disasters every day across the United States with the majority of those being house fires. She says volunteers are specially trained in helping people on their worst days.

“It may be where are they going to stay? Do they need baby diapers? All those things to meet the needs of their family,” said Hudson. “We provide that financial assistance and then we work with them with our casework to ensure that we are getting them on the road to recovery, ensuring someone’s not a home fire away from poverty.”

For those looking to get involved on a local level, there will be a ‘Sound the Alarm’ event next month in Blount County to help install smoke alarms and make sure families have fire plans in place in case of an emergency. The event will be Saturday, April 1, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rio East Church located at 1601 East Broadway Avenue in Maryville, Tenn.

Those interested can visit the Red Cross website to learn more.

For those looking to donate money rather than time, Hudson stated 90 cents of every dollar goes to Red Cross services, reminding people they are not a government-funded organization.