Though people give a lot during the Christmas holidays, most of them don’t think of donating blood.
“The holidays are a tough time of year,” Lauren McConnell of the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas said. So for the third year, the nonprofit blood-collection agency hopes to catch people’s attention with its Pints for Pounds campaign.
For every person who donates a pint of blood to the Community Blood Center in January and February, the center will donate 6 pounds of much-needed food to Second Harvest Food Bank), a nonprofit that provides food to those in need in Union and 13 other N.C. counties and five counties in South Carolina.
Since 1981, Second Harvest has provided food to area emergency pantries, including Loaves & Fishes, senior programs like Friendship Trays and shelters. According to the group’s website, www.secondharbestcharlotte.org, requests for food have continued to increase as the economy struggles to recover.
“People are always looking for more ways to give,” McConnell said.
According to the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas website, local hospitals use more than 300 blood products each day, and more than 20 percent of all patients in local hospitals depend on the availability of blood for treatment.
Her agency is “the primary blood supplier to this region,” providing blood product to Carolinas HealthCare System, CaroMont Health in Gastonia, Burke County’s Blue Ridge Health Care facilities and Piedmont Medical Center in Gastonia, McConnell said.
“The blood that is given here stays here,” she added.
Since Pints for Pounds began in 2009, the blood-collection agency has donated 99,828 pounds of food with the help of local donors and sponsors.
”We would love to break this record and provide more than 100,000 during this year’s campaign,” McConnell said.
With three locations in Charlotte and many other bloodmobile sites, local residents have plenty of opportunities to donate.
The Community Blood Center’s Monroe office at 600 Hospital Drive is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Find other locations and operating hours as well as schedules for local bloodmobile visits at the center’s website, www.cbss.us. Click on “Donate Blood.”