Although the holiday season is nearing a close, the American Red Cross is asking local residents to stay in the giving mood during its upcoming slate of blood drives.
Through Jan. 20, the Emporia area will play host to a total of nine separate drives due to a nationwide emergency shortage for all blood types. American Red Cross Central Plains Account Manager Susan Faler said it was not uncommon for donation rates to decrease during this time of year, making drives during the early months even more crucial than usual.
“During the holidays and winter months, we usually see a decline in donation rates,” Faler said. “It’s a time when people get busy or may get sick more often, so that’s one reason we have so many coming up. Another is that since people can donate every 56 days, it turns out that a lot of drives in the Emporia area hit around the same month.”
Currently, the slate includes drives scheduled for: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 31 at Radius Brewing Company; 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 2 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Presbyterian Church’s west campus; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Flinthills Mall; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Lebo Community Building, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 8 at Olpe High School, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Flinthills Mall; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Hamilton High School library; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 17 at Holiday Resort; and 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Chase County Community Building.
Faler encourages those looking to donate to research the drives they want to attend beforehand, as many benefit other area causes and organizations.
“For instance, the one on [Jan. 3] will be hosted by Emporia High School student Chloe Jackson at the storefronts next door to the theater,” Faler said. “She’s hosting that to help earn scholarship money from the Red Cross. The one at the mall on Jan. 13 is being hosted by the high school band, as well, and they’ll receive $10-per-pint collected. They need a minimum of 30 pints before they get that money, so we hope people come out … I like to say it’s a win-win-win situation. The kids are winning, the band is winning and the donors are winning by helping save lives.”
To make an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter Emporia’s zip code — 66801 — for a list of all upcoming drives in the area. Organizations, businesses or individuals looking to host their own blood drives can contact Faler at 316-554-4807 for more information on scheduling opportunities.
“When people come into donate, they’ll want to make sure they have a donor card or their photo ID with them,” Faler said. “They should also make sure they drink plenty of water and eat foods that are rich in iron for at least a couple days before they plan on donating. Being mindful of all that and getting a good night’s sleep beforehand are the best ways to make sure you have an easy, and effective donation.”