The holiday season is a time for family and festivities. Families are making travel plans, writing grocery lists to create delicious meals, and preparing for reunions. It’s also a time to be reminded of those who are less fortunate and in need of a helping hand. There are many ways to give back to those who need it most.
Here are a few ways you can support the work of the American Red Cross  in your community on Giving Tuesday.
Save Lives by Donating Blood
Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors. And, the need is great: Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Your blood donation could help more than one patient in need of life-saving blood.
On Nov. 28, there is a blood drive at Chicago City Hall (121 N. LaSalle Drive). If you or your friends and family work downtown, this is a convenient location to make a blood donation. There are many other options available, too. Visit redcrossblood.org  to schedule an appointment!
Donate to the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross relies on the generosity of the American public in order to do its work. This year, you can give a meaningful gift to help the people we meet every eight minutes who have been devastated by disaster: Consider donating to the American Red Cross.
Your donation allows the Red Cross to mobilize resources and volunteers, purchase needed supplies, and stand-up massive shelters and feeding operations to help hundreds of thousands of people.
- $100 covers the cost of Red Cross clean-up kits for five families — These kits, stored and ready for distribution in multiple locations nationwide, contain items needed to begin recovery immediately after a disaster. Each kit comes with a sectional handle with mop, broom, squeegee and push broom heads, pail, scrub brush, sponge, disinfectant, detergent/degreaser, bleach, trash bags, gloves, and dust mask.
- $1,000 provides food and shelter for a family of four for five days — This service includes providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the costs to mobilize and distribute a cot, two blankets, and a comfort kit as well as the costs of Red Cross workers to provide this support.
- $1,650 covers the cost to deploy a Red Cross volunteer to an operation — This includes travel, transportation, lodging, food, and vital support systems like our Volunteer Connection portal. The average length of a disaster deployment is 11 days.
- $7,500 is the average cost of fully stocking an ERV with needed supplies for three days — This service includes providing lunch, dinner, and snacks, the travel costs to deploy two staff members to operate the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), and vehicle maintenance and fuel costs.
Volunteer for the American Red Cross
Volunteers carry out 90 percent of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. Whether helping one displaced family or thousands, providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies, it’s through the efforts of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things.
Your time and talent can make a real difference in people’s lives. Visit redcross.org  to apply to volunteer.
Your gift this holiday season can bring hope to those in need. This year, give something that means something. Visit RedCross.org  for more information.