Area residents will have a pair of opportunities in October to donate blood at American Red Cross blood drives.

Healthy individuals are needed every day to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients in need.

Make an appointment and encourage your family and friends to donate on Tuesday, October 3rd from 1:30-6:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Memphis.

If you can’t make that date, a second drive will be held October 6th from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital.

Once a donor has made the commitment to give blood, it is important to take a few simple steps to prepare and help ensure a good donation experience.

The Red Cross recommends: getting a good night’s sleep; eating a good breakfast or lunch; drinking extra water and fluids to help replace the volume you will donate; avoiding caffeinated beverages; and eating iron-rich foods to boost your iron level.

Donating blood is an easy way to help others and only takes about an hour of your time. The Red Cross encourages donors to give blood every time they are eligible: every 56 days for whole blood donations and every 112 days for double red cell donations.

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet. certain height and weight requirements.

The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and clothing to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; ministers international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.