Red Cross needs blood donors - and chili cooks

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) An annual decline in blood donations around the holidays is a constant concern for the American Red Cross, but the central Nebraska chapter is also making plans for a return of an old favorite in the new year.

Executive Director Rachelle Lipker says they are bringing back a chili cook off as a fund raiser. It has been four years since they last held this event. It will be Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Fonner Park. If you would like more information about being a chef or general information, please email

Also important right now, according to Lipker, if getting blood donors out during the busy holiday season.

"Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, we see a decline in blood donations," said Lipker. "So, we're asking everybody to please roll up your sleeve to provide that blood that is so needed,"

You can find opportunities to donate at the special Red Cross web site, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS

If you donate blood before December 19, you will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via email as a thank you for your generosity during this important time.

Lipker says they have also responded to provide assistance at a number of house fires in recent weeks. She reminds everyone to have a plan to escape your house within two minutes in the event of a fire.

Also, the Red Cross will provide anyone a free smoke detector if needed. You can request one by calling 211, or visit a web site designated just for this cause.