The Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross celebrated March as Red Cross Month by responding to its 75th local disaster of the program year this week.

“A fire in Rockland just before the weekend made a family of six homeless,” said Gretchen O’Grady, the chapter’s emergency services director, in a news release. “As we are ready to do 365 days a year, local Red Cross volunteers responded quickly with clothing. The chapter stands ready to help local disaster victims with emergency shelter, food, clothing and emotional support.”

This year’s Red Cross Month comes at a time when the Red Cross is meeting a growing demand for emergency services. Last year, the Pine Tree Chapter provided nearly $100,000 in direct assistance — the highest amount in the chapter’s 91-year history — for shelter, food, clothing and emotional support to almost 500 people in Maine.

“All Red Cross help is a gift from people in Maine,” O’Grady said. “Local support from literally thousands of contributors goes into the local disaster relief fund and stays right here in Maine.”

Last year the chapter also provided first aid, CPR and water safety skills to 10,000 health and safety program participants through classes offered once or twice every month in Bangor, Rockland and Caribou. Also last year, 700 military families used the chapter’s emergency communications and other services to the armed forces.

The Pine Tree Chapter serves more than 300 communities in the seven counties of eastern and northern Maine — from Knox County in the south to Aroostook County in the north to Washington County in the east. It covers the largest Red Cross service area east of the Mississippi River.

During March, Red Cross Month celebrates and recognizes the donors, volunteers and staff who make the work of the American Red Cross possible.

“These are the people who embody America’s spirit by working 365 days a year to save or rebuild lives shattered by disaster — down the street, across the country, and around the world,” said Pine Tree Chapter Executive Director Shannon Flavin Cox. “Maine depends on the Red Cross in times of need, and the Red Cross depends on the support of Mainers to achieve its mission.”

To make a gift to the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross local disaster relief fund, go to pinetree.redcross.org, call 941-2903 in Bangor, 594-4576 in Rockland, 667-4737 in Ellsworth, or 493-4620 in Caribou, or send a gift to PTC, 122 Target Industrial Circle, Bangor ME 04401.

“America’s spirit shines when people do extraordinary things,” Cox said. “Thanks to so many Mainers, the Red Cross is responding to the recent earthquake disaster in Haiti. We hope our friends and neighbors will continue to support the Pine Tree Chapter’s programs in Maine as they have for more than 90 years.”