Americans flood Red Cross with monetary, blood donations

by Tom Ford

Since Tuesday’s terrorist attacks, citizens across the country have offered more online donations to the American Red Cross than the organization has ever before received.

The national online donations are being combined with large financial contributions to Red Cross chapters in the Twin Cities, both from large businesses and individual citizens.

On the day of the attacks, more than $1 million was donated through the Red Cross Web site, with the number of donations being nearly one per second.

Tuesday’s level of giving accounted for more than 7,000 transactions, said Audrey Kintzi, development officer of the St. Paul Red Cross chapter. On Wednesday, in the first three morning hours, the Red Cross Web site received about 2,100 transactions, she added.

Besides online giving, the Red Cross’ cash donation phone line received about $250,000 within 24 hours of the attacks, Kintzi said.

The St. Paul chapter has raised around $100,000, but exact figures are difficult to determine now because the giving has been nonstop, Kintzi said.

The St. Paul chapter has received several major contributions, but Kintzi said she’s also gotten piggy banks from children and donations from people who had come to give blood.

Lori Keller, financial development director for the Minneapolis Red Cross, said it has received about $350,000 over the last three days just through credit card and online contributions.

She said she has received numerous donations by mail and check but has not yet processed them all.

Locally and nationally, the Red Cross has received several large corporate contributions.

For instance, Terry Egge, president of the Minneapolis-based ING Foundation, said ING Americas, through the foundation, will donate $100,000 in cash and more than $750,000 worth of network and national air time for advertising slots to the American Red Cross.

Soren Jensen, public relations director of the Minneapolis chapter, said the recent level of giving is unprecedented.

“Never in the history of Red Cross have we received this kind of support from the American people,” Jensen said.

Besides the financial contributions, Twin Cities chapters have received large amounts of blood donations.

The Minneapolis Red Cross chapter has collected 3,887 blood units since Tuesday, more than twice as much as it’d normally collect, said Siess.

He said the Minneapolis chapter sent 1,000 units to a Red Cross Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

While the Red Cross is happy to receive the blood donations, Siess said they are “not actively encouraging people to give blood.”

“The immediate need for blood donating has been met,” Siess said.

He said the “shelf life” of blood is 42 days and “what was donated today and yesterday will need to be replenished.”

He said there will be an ongoing need for blood – not just for attack victims – and people need to continue giving blood in the upcoming months.


Tom Ford welcomes comments at [email protected]