METHUEN — Officials with the American Red Cross say the blood supply continues to face challenges from the pandemic and extreme winter weather that has impacted much of the country.

More donors, especially those with type O blood, are needed now to ensure that patients have lifesaving blood products available for emergencies and everyday medical treatments.

March is Red Cross Month, and the Red Cross is celebrating blood, platelet and plasma donors for stepping up to meet the constant need for blood amid the pandemic. All who come to give blood until March 26 will receive an exclusive Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

To find a blood drive, visit and enter your zip code. Check the site regularly for updates on where drives are being held. You can also download the Red Cross Blood Donor App at, by calling 1-800-733-2767 or by enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

River Bards series set to return

HAVERHILL — Haverhill’s River Bards are planning a return for the spring season.

Held via Zoom, this free series will be held on Friday evenings from April through June and will feature readings by published poets, followed by open mic readings. At 7 p.m., the featured poet will present a reading, followed by open mic time (sign-ups will occur via Zoom chat) until everyone has had a chance to read. The event wraps up no later than 8:30 p.m, and is family friendly and open to the public. 

These poetry nights will be recorded and posted on HC Media’s Channel 22 following each program. Register at for a Zoom link and password. 

For more information, contact Erin Padilla at 503-476-4339 or  

Cultural Council awards grants

HAVERHILL — The Haverhill Cultural Council has awarded more than $43,000 in grants to local nonprofits, individuals and local business leaders to bring cultural activities and programs to students, senior citizens and children in Greater Haverhill.

"Since the start of the pandemic, cultural programs have taken a huge hit, and it has been tough to plan or execute the events we wanted to see take place in 2020," said Nathan Webster, chairman of the Cultural Council.

He said that with the help of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Gov. Charlie Baker’s $16 million budget for arts funding, Haverhill can offer programs to keep the cultural community alive and revitalize programs that may not have happened.

"We thank Mayor James Fiorentini for believing in arts and culture in Haverhill, and look forward to continuing his mission," Webster said.

The Haverhill Cultural Council received a total of 23 grant applications, all of which were funded at the requested amounts, Webster said.

For a complete list of grant recipients, visit and click on the "Funding List" tab.

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