People have the power during Red Cross Month to help the nonprofit fulfill its stated mission to help others during times of need.

“Powering the Mission” is a new virtual fundraising event recently announced by the American Red Cross Minnesota and Dakotas Region.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen again and again how important a strong Red Cross is to our communities,” Regional Executive Director Phil Hansen stated in a news release.

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The Minnesota and Dakotas Region serves more than 7.2 million people across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. It is comprised of nine community chapters and five blood donation centers.

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“In the past, kind of our premier fundraising event was the heroes breakfast every year, and that was an in-person breakfast. We filled a ballroom full of people and we celebrated heroes across our region,” said Sue Thesenga, an American Red Cross regional communications manager.

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The new signature fundraiser will feature guest speakers and three inspiring mission stories highlighting how the Red Cross makes an impact across the region. The public is invited to attend the free event noon to 1 p.m. March 16 by registering at redcross.org/mission.

“We’re bringing more speakers to the table just to talk about the impact the Red Cross has made in the community,” Thesenga said Friday, Feb. 26.

Featured presenters include Angela Davis, Minnesota Public Radio news host; Andrea Walsh, president and CEO of HealthPartners; and Reba Dominski, executive vice president and chief social responsibility officer at U.S. Bancorp, and president of the U.S. Bank Foundation.

 Angela Davis is a Minnesota Public Radio news host. Submitted photo
Angela Davis is a Minnesota Public Radio news host. Submitted photo

“It doesn’t cost you anything to come and listen and be inspired by the things that the Red Cross does, but if you feel compelled to make a donation, that’s great,” Thesenga said.

Funds raised will support services delivered by the Red Cross daily in communities: disaster services, services to the armed forces, biomedical services, training and preparedness services, and international services.

“From responding to home fires and other disasters across the country to collecting blood products and convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients, the Red Cross has proved essential to strong families and communities,” Hansen stated.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

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“We’re really just wanting to educate and build awareness about the Red Cross services across our state. A lot of people don’t realize everything the Red Cross does,” Thesenga said.

The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

“There are lots of reasons to turn the spotlight on stories of hope right now and ‘Powering the Mission’ will do just that. We ask you to join us as we honor and celebrate our humanitarian spirit,” Hansen stated.

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Red Cross services in Minnesota and the Dakotas are made possible by more than 2,800 volunteers, including over 130 youth volunteers.

“The past year has been overwhelming for many, and yet through it all, people are caring for one another,” Hansen stated.

For more information about the virtual fundraiser, to register for it or just to make a donation, visit redcross.org/mission.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL.