The American Red Cross is asking people to roll up their sleeves and give blood or platelets this Veterans Day weekend to honor those who have served their country. At the same time, anyone who comes to donate will have the opportunity to sign a card and include a personal message that will become part of the annual American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.

The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have joined together for Holiday Mail for Heroes, a program through which people can sign holiday cards for members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families. Pitney Bowes will then screen the cards for hazardous materials, and the Red Cross will sort and deliver them to military installations, veterans medical facilities and other locations during the holidays.

In this area, the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake and Potomac (GC&P) Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 50 area hospitals and must have 1,000 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source. The Red Cross will hold the following blood drives on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to give residents the opportunity to help meet these needs and also participate in Holiday Mail for Heroes:

Northwest Hospital Center, 8 am – 2 pm, 5401 Old Court Rd., Randallstown
Carroll Community College, 9 am – 3 pm, 1601 Washington Rd., Westminster
University of Maryland, 10 am – 4 pm, 2148 Stamp Student Union Bldg, College Park
Dr. Joan W. Gibble Donation Center, 7 am – 12 pm, 4700 Mt. Hope Drive, Baltimore
Fairfax Donation Center, 7 am – 1:30 pm, 2720 Prosperity Ave., Ste 200, Fairfax
Greater Hanover Donation Center, 8 am – 1 pm, 529 Carlisle St., Hanover
E. Street Donation Center, 8 am – 2 pm, 2025 E. St. NW, Washington

For a complete listing of Veteran’s Day weekend donation and aphaeresis donation opportunities, visit

To register, call 1-800-RED CROSS.

“We hope people will join us over this Veterans Day weekend,” said Gary J. Ouellette, CEO of the GC&P Region. “These blood drives will give donors the chance to help hospital patients who need blood, and at the same time, sign a holiday card that thanks veterans and members of the military for their service.”

Potential blood donors must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in generally good health. People should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate. Eligible donors can give whole blood every 56 days.

To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood or platelets, people can visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).