In order to keep blood reserves from becoming critically low during the summer season, two area agencies are seeking donors for their annual summer preparedness blood drive.
Columbia County's Emergency Management Agency and Shepeard Community Blood Center are teaming up to hold a drive Wednesday at the Government Complex auditorium in Evans from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Two blood donation vehicles also will be at the Road and Bridges Department in Appling from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
"It is a way to help us prepare for the summer," said Pamela Rascon, the director of community resources at Shepeard. "There's so much that goes on with school being out and everybody's schedules being a little disjointed. The need for blood is ever-present."
Many factors contribute to the increased need in blood supplies during summer months, she said.
People make appointments for elective surgeries in the summertime, when their daily schedules are more relaxed, she said. More accidents tend to occur during summer months.
Rascon said the blood center receives about 10 percent of its collection from high schools, which don't hold blood drives in the summer.
"With the economic downturn, we're getting hit, too," she said.
Several businesses that sponsor blood drives have either closed or are limiting the numbers of drives held, Rascon said.
The blood drive was scheduled well before July 4 to ensure that donors are still in town and to bolster supplies before the need becomes critical, said Rascon, adding that blood has a shelf life of 42 days. Rascon said she hopes to see at least 210 donors.
A free Chik-Fil-A meal, a T-shirt, a Dippin' Dots coupon and cholesterol screening will be offered to donors. Drawings for gift cards and movie tickets will be held randomly throughout the day.
Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Donors need to be at least 17 years old, though 16-year-olds can donate blood with parental consent. Those interested in contributing must provide a photo identification card and must not have donated blood in the past eight weeks.
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