Interfaith blood drive shatters record
The July interfaith blood drive sponsored by a partnership between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church and ten other religious groups exceeded its goal of doubling last year's yield of 1700 units by collecting 3,827 units. July became the fourth highest month of collections for the Red Cross in the last three years. The units collected with mobile blood drives is the largest amount since 9/11, taking the Red Cross into August with very strong local blood inventory levels for the first time in many years.
The drive was held at church buildings and Red Cross facilities throughout the greater-Bay Area – reaching as far north as Ukiah and as far south as Salinas and Monterey. There were blood drives every day during the month of July, except Sundays.
“July is traditionally a difficult month to collect blood because schools are out and many people are on vacation,” said Jeff Meyer, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region. “The commitment made by these faith groups is to help collect nearly 100 percent of the blood we need in July, and we are excited they have readily taken on this need.”
Every day, regional hospitals are filled with cancer and surgery patients, premature babies, accident victims and other sick and injured people who need transfusions to live. Blood cannot be manufactured, it can only come from volunteer donors and because all blood and blood products are perishable, the supply must constantly be replenished.
According to the Red Cross, the number one reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others.” The Interfaith Community Blood Drive brings together a number of religious groups with a common goal – to help others.
“Service is the common thread of all religions, and it is truly inspirational to see people of different faiths sacrificing together for those in great need,” Elder Robert Packer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.
“Our goal is to be of service to the broader community by combining the efforts of the Catholic and interfaith communities,” said Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland.
The need for blood continues. Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in generally good physical health may be eligible to donate blood. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or go to redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment.