By now, most Harvey County families have opened all their Christmas gifts, and the space under their Christmas trees likely is looking a little bare.
However, not all Harvey County residents are done giving. Some ventured out into the chilly temperatures Wednesday afternoon to donate blood at an American Red Cross blood drive at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Newton.
Ryan Mahlandt with Newton Fire/EMS was one of those donors Wednesday. He said this was his second time giving blood (his first was during the annual "Battle of the Badges" blood drive), and he wanted to give again.
"I feel like I should," he said.
Collections operations supervisor Terry Sharon said about 46 people came in during the first two and a half hours of the drive, and she was hoping more would stop by.
"There's a constant need for blood," she said. "... During the summertime and the holiday season is when we have trouble collecting enough blood."
The blood type most in demand is "O negative," since it can be used by any recipient. However, only about 7 percent of the population has this blood type, so it constantly is sought after, Sharon said.
It takes about 45 minutes to give a pint of blood, and this pint of blood can be used to benefit three different people.
People also have the option of donating through a special machine that only keeps red cells and returns other fluids back to the donor. This process takes about one and a half hours and helps the Red Cross because there's more of a demand for red cells, Sharon said.
Sharon said donating blood is a good way for community members to give back after the holidays, and it helps the Red Cross, which provides about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
The blood drive continues from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (Dec. 27) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
If you can't make this blood drive, you can catch one in a neighboring town next week or next month:
- Dec. 31: from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 111 Pine in Inman.
- Jan. 7: from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Methodist Church, 403 Sycamore in Peabody.
- Jan. 14: from 2:15 to 6:45 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 415 N. Cedar in Marion.