Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is right around the corner. Let us use the holiday season to help fellow Hoosiers. With the challenges we are facing, many could use a helping hand, and there are plenty of opportunities to help.

The gift of blood helps save numerous lives. Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S. and every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Safety protocols are being followed in accordance with CDC guidelines at every blood drive to ensure donators are protected. Hoosiers can donate blood in Indiana at Red Cross drives as well as Versiti Blood Center of Indiana. Other locations and contact information for donating blood can be found by visiting the Indiana Department of Health website.

Another way to help those in need is by giving money to organizations like the Salvation Army. Every year, the Salvation Army hosts a Red Kettle campaign and collects money for those in need. They provide for homeless shelters, stock food pantries, help struggling families pay bills and gift clothes and toys to children through their Angel Tree program. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused many in-person Red Kettle events to be canceled. While some bell ringers are collecting money at select locations, recruiting enough people to help is a challenge. Hoosiers can fill the void and register to become a bell ringer here, as well as donate online here.

Volunteers and donations are needed at food banks across the state, especially as they experience a 154% increase in visits from those in need. With older Hoosiers making up a majority of volunteers at food banks, there is a need for others who are not in the pandemic’s high-risk category to step in. To learn about volunteering, click here, and to donate, click here.

For more ways to safely help others this holiday season and beyond, visit in.gov/serveindiana. Whether donating blood, giving money to organizations supporting our communities, or volunteering at food banks, we can all do our part to bless others. May you and those dear to you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.