Columbia County residents can give a priceless gift this holiday season by donating blood.
Shepeard Community Blood Center is teaming up with the county's Emergency Operations Division to hold its annual holiday preparedness blood drive on Wednesday.
During the holidays, blood donations tend to drop with an increased number of people traveling or taking vacations, said Maurice Clemmons, Shepeard's assistant director of community resources.
"Even though it's a time where donations generally drop off some, there are still accidents and things that happen where the blood supply needs are still there," he said.
Each blood donation can save up to three lives, he said. Shepeard provides blood and blood supplies to 17 hospitals, including the Joseph M. Still Burn Center.
The drive will take place from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., at the Evans Government Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Roads and Bridges Department on County Camp Road in Appling.
Shepeard, along with the county, schedules three blood drives throughout the year.
"It's a great way to help get a jump on that to have blood supplies there," Clemmons said.
Throughout the day, donors will receive a free Chick-fil-A meal, a blood donor T-shirt and can register in several drawings for the chance to win gift cards and movie tickets.
This year, those donating blood on Wednesday will be entered into a contest to win a new Toyota Yaris.
"Hopefully, they will just come because they'd like to help give the gift of life," Clemmons said. "But it's also good if you come and save a couple of lives, and you could win a new car along the way."
About 215 people donated during the June drive, Clemmons said.
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.
For information, call (706) 737-4551 or visit www.columbiacountyga.gov.
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