Raiders and Red Cross join forces

The Oakland Raiders and the American Red Cross are joining forces to conduct a blood drive at Thursday's Raiders exhibition finale against the New Orleans Saints to help the Red Cross ensure a steady supply of blood. The blood drive will run from 2 p.m. until after kickoff, which is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The American Red Cross Northern California Region is assisting the Gulf Coast states with blood needs because the damage is preventing local donors from providing blood for their usual day-to-day needs. Donors are needed in Northern California to help us be prepared for disaster locally and extend assistance as needed in other locations.

In addition to supplying blood, the Red Cross aids people and communities in need across America and throughout the world by supplying food, medicine and money.

"We encourage all of our fans who are physically able to do so to help the Red Cross serve thousands of Americans in need by donating blood," Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask said in a statement the team released. "In light of recent events, we are reminded of the constant need for blood. This goes beyond team allegiances. This is simply about helping people in their time of need."

The Red Cross will set up a mobile blood collection center inside the main entrance to the Oakland Arena, located directly above the ticket windows on the plaza between the Arena and McAfee Coliseum. In addition to accepting walk-up donors, the Red Cross will schedule appointments over the phone at 800-GIVE-LIFE for individuals interesting in donating blood.

Throughout the game, the Raiders will air public service announcements on the video boards in the stadium featuring quarterback Kerry Collins, wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and head coach Norv Turner. The announcements will encourage fans to contribute to the relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama by phoning the Red Cross donation hotline at 1-800-HELP-NOW.

The announcements will also appear on the Raiders' game broadcast, which airs on KICU Action 36 Cable 6 and on the team's official website,

Prior to kickoff, the Raiders and the Saints will join in a moment of silence in honor of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

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