Columbia County residents are urged to give from their hearts when Shepeard Community Blood Center opens a new Evans location the day after Valentine's Day.
"When you donate blood, of course, you're giving from the heart," said Linda Petersen, Shepeard marketing and public relations manager. "You're also helping your heart because when you donate blood, you reduce your risk for certain types of cancer, high blood pressure and heart attacks, so it's a wonderful thing."
To provide more convenience for donors, the new center is in a 6,000-square-foot building located at 4329 Washington Road.
"We're so grateful for people who are willing to spend an hour and help save lives that we just want to express that in this building and how we treat them," Petersen said.
Two county Shepeard locations -- on Davis Road in Martinez and North Belair Road in Evans -- will close.
The Evans facility will allow for Shepeard personnel to consolidate resources, Petersen said.
"People are so busy these days," she said. "We have to make it easy for them to help other people."
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.
The center will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Whole blood, apheresis platelet and plasma donations will be collected at the new facility, which was purchased about seven months ago for $850,000.
Shepeard provides blood and blood products to 18 hospitals in the region.
The center will occupy Building B at Washington and Evans-to-Locks roads, and an electronic sign placed in front of the building will alert passersby if certain blood types are urgently needed.
"People that drive by there will be able to be more aware of what the local hospitals need," Petersen said.
Also this month, Shepeard will team up with the county's Emergency Operations Division to conduct a blood drive.
On Feb. 25, donors can give blood at the Evans Government Center Auditorium on Ronald Reagan Drive from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. as well as at the Roads and Bridges Department on County Camp Road in Appling from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
"One of our goals this year is to let everybody know that if you donate blood three times a year, there will not be any shortages," Petersen said.
Donors will receive a free Chick-fil-A meal, T-shirt and chance to win movie tickets. They also will be entered into a drawing for a $1,500 Visa gift card.
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