Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, told a news conference at the Church’s Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday, 20 June 2012, that the new agreement includes greater coordination with the Church in sponsoring blood drives.
“Every two seconds someone in our country needs a blood transfusion,” said McGovern. “And, time and time again, Church members have rolled up their sleeves to make life-saving donations, and that is such an act of generosity. Here in the Utah region, Latter-day Saints donate 50,000 units of blood annually in Church-hosted blood drives.”
The renewed partnership means the Church will increase its participation by hosting more blood drives in meetinghouses and other Church facilities.
McGovern explained the Red Cross ships six to ten million units of blood per year to hospitals. In the Utah region, the Church’s effort of sponsoring blood drives accounts for 25 percent of all the blood donated.
“I would like the public to know,” said McGovern, that “the Red Cross is more prepared than ever when disaster strikes because of the relationship we have with the LDS Church.”
The two organizations have worked together very effectively for more than 25 years in disaster relief, blood drives, financial and in-kind donations and the Measles Initiative, which has resulted in vaccinating 213 million children in more than 40 African countries.
In addition to blood drives, the Church will be involved in disaster planning, training and drills and in identifying shelter locations.
“The Church has created a strong culture of preparedness among its members,” McGovern said. “I believe it can be a model for others throughout the country.” The Church counsels members to be prepared for a personal emergency or natural disaster by preparing emergency plans and having basic emergency supplies on hand.
“As members of the Church we are committed to helping the poor and the needy, and we view that as a divine mandate,” said Steve Peterson, managing director of Church Welfare Services. “Our partnership with the American Red Cross and others simply strengthens our position to be able to do what we feel is our responsibility as Church members.”
“I'm grateful for the depth and breadth of the partnership that the Red Cross has with the Church,” concluded McGovern. “Together, we are helping people in need down the street, across the country and around the world.”