Hoping to bolster the blood supply in the Augusta area before the July 4th weekend, the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency is holding its seventh annual Summer Community Blood Drive on Thursday and Friday.
With summer comes family vacations, fireworks, outdoor activities and a greater need for blood because of fireworks-related burns and injuries from other activities, said Sarah Childers, the public relations coordinator for the Shepeard Community Blood Center.
The blood supply faces further strain near July 4 because blood donations dwindle at times as potential donors take vacations, she said.
"We purposely place the EMA drive before the Fourth of July weekend because that (weekend) is a really hard time for us," Childers said. "In addition to not drawing as much blood, there are also a lot of recreational and fireworks accidents and we get a lot of burn patients.''
The drive kicks off from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Evans Government Center in the auditorium in Building A on Ronald Reagan Drive. The drive continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the county's Roads and Bridges department building at the corner of Columbia and County Camp roads in Appling.
Currently, the blood center needs all blood types, but an urgent need exists for both B-negative and B-positive blood types, Childers said. Participants can also make a donation of red blood cell components at the drive.
Pam Tucker, Columbia County's emergency services director, said first timers have no need to fear giving blood.
"It does not hurt and I wouldn't tell anybody that if it wasn't true," said Tucker, adding that she regularly gives blood.
Each person who donates blood will receive a free lunch from Chick-fil-A at Mullins Crossing, a coupon for a free pint of ice cream, a coupon for one gallon of gasoline from Allen's Country Store on Washington Road and a free T-shirt, Tucker said.
They also will receive a free cholesterol screening,.
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