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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the regular routine and the upcoming blood drive at the First Baptist Church of Memphis for the American Red Cross will be no exception.
Blood donation is considered an essential activity, and currently, there is a national shortage of blood.
“We host one of the largest regular blood drives in the state of Missouri,” said Pastor Dan Hite. “Therefore, it is important that we host the drive and that people come out and donate.”
That being said, Hite stressed there will be adjustments made to help safeguard the health and welfare of donors.
Instead of the usual, one-day blood drive, the upcoming collection will be conducted over two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5th and 6th.
“This will be necessary to accommodate our normal number of donors given the current restrictions on gathering sizes, which will limit the number of donors and workers in the building at any given time,” explained Hite.
To ensure a steady flow of donors without imposing long waiting times on anyone, it is strongly recommended that everyone consider making an appointment by calling 1 (800) RED CROSS.
“If you want to donate, but cannot make an appointment, we will do our best to work you into the rotation,” said Hite. “If that does not seem possible, we will schedule a return appointment at that time.”
The time of the blood drive will be the same for both days; beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m.
When donors enter the church parking lot in their vehicles, they will be directed to a parking space to assure proper spacing between vehicles.
“You will be met by a Red Cross volunteer who will verify your appointment information and give you the appropriate pre-donation reading material,” said Hite. “To keep down the number of people in the building, we will not have our normal waiting area.”
Donors will be asked to remain in their vehicles until their time to donate at which time a Red Cross volunteer will bring them into the building.
The temperature of each donor will be taken at the door. Anyone with a fever will not be able to donate.
“If you are sick, please stay home,” said Hite. “If you do not have an appropriate face mask, one will be given to you at the door.”
All people in the building, workers and donors alike, will be required to wear a face mask to minimize the risk of infection.
Once in the building all donors will be brought straight back to the donating area; their information and vitals will be taken; and they will be directed to a cot to begin the donation process. The canteen/recovery area will be available with canned drinks and packaged snacks.
“Red Cross staff and local volunteers will do their best to ensure the drive is safe and that the process runs smoothly for our donors,” said Hite. ‘If you are healthy, please come out and donate; it’s important.”