April 06, 2020

Disaster Area> Volunteers; Red Cross cites additional need for blood, money

As electric lines are slowly repaired throughout the state, many relief shelters have closed or combined with others, easing the need for additional volunteers in many areas. And while the sweat of volunteers is still needed in some areas — Ellsworth and the Waterville area, for example — what’s needed most from Mainers is their blood.

According to Angela Bilodeau, a donor recruiter with the Red Cross Blood Services in Bangor, the storm hit at a time when the agency historically begins to replenish its blood supply that runs low over the holidays. “We are critically low,” she said.

But gift-giving did not have the chance to segue into blood-giving this January. The 700 units of blood the agency anticipated getting during the past week didn’t come in, she said, as the storm shut down donations.

The Red Cross is asking donors to give blood at its Bangor location at 900 Hammond St. from noon to 7 p.m. today and Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Blood also can be donated in Bucksport at the fitness center at the Champion paper mill from noon to 6 p.m. today, and in East Corinth at the United Methodist Church on Main Street from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

For questions about blood donations, call the Red Cross at 800-432-7376.

“We have had an outpouring of volunteers,” said Pamela Daigle, the director of the Pine Tree chapter of the Red Cross and coordinator of the relief shelter in Bangor. The 47 Red Cross shelters in the state housed more than 3,100 people Sunday night, she said.

“The best thing people can do for relief at this point is to donate money,” she said. “You have to remember that the Red Cross doesn’t wait to get money before it starts to provide help.”

The Red Cross is coordinating its volunteers and donations from its state command headquarters in Portland. Call 874-1192 to get your name on the agency’s volunteer list.

In most rural areas, volunteer firefighters have cleared roads blocked with fallen or leaning trees. The work has now turned to clearing branches from sagging power lines. Asked about the need for additional volunteer help, fire chiefs and emergency personnel in mid-Maine suggested Monday that would-be volunteers call fire and public works departments in their areas. Denny Robertson, the chief of the Blue Hill Fire Department, said that he, like other chiefs, maintains a list of volunteers who have called to offer their services. “Right now we’re in pretty good shape,” he said of Blue Hill and the area to its south. “There isn’t a big crushing need now.”

Some relief workers on Monday did say that volunteers are needed as soon as possible.

Volunteers are needed at the shelter at the Ellsworth Middle School, according to Doug Wright, the director of the Eastern Maine chapter of the Red Cross. Call 667-4737 to volunteer at the Ellsworth shelter.

The Waterville area was especially hard hit by the storm. According to Darrel Fournier, the chief of the Waterville Fire Department, the Fairfield storm shelter needs certified nursing assistants and certified physician’s assistants. Call 453-8029 to volunteer.

Fournier said that others who wish to volunteer their services in the area should call the Fairfield Fire Department at 453-2429, the Winslow Fire Department at 872-6512 and the Oakland Fire Department at 465-2631.

The address for the Red Cross Pine Tree Chapter is 33 Mildred Ave., Bangor 04401.

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