Last year Forbe’s reported the average American spent $750 on gifts during the holiday season, which surprisingly was a decrease from $862 over the previous few years. The most popular gift among those purchased? The oh-so-personal, gift card. That’s right folks we don’t even spend time looking for gifts anymore with meaning. Instead we simply buy a gift card that could cover any number of items, but most importantly it spares us from spending our time hunting down a unique or meaningful gift for our loved one. Do you think maybe, we are missing the point? This holiday season I would like to urge you to “give something that means something” during the American Red Cross Winter Holiday Campaign. What’s truly awesome about this challenge is that everyone has an equal opportunity to give, no platinum card or cash required, just visit your local Red Cross for a non-fiscal option. With the Red Cross you can give something this holiday season to provide hope for those in crisis tomorrow. Donating blood is a quick way for anyone to give something that could mean a life tomorrow. One pint of blood is enough to potentially save three lives. What could be more meaningful than saving a life? Saving several lives.
The demand for blood is epic. Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. Companies can help fulfill the need for lifesaving blood by hosting blood drives and encouraging employees, customers and members to volunteer and donate. Blood drives can help deepen corporate relationships by providing an opportunity for corporations and their employees to give the gift of life-saving blood. The blood supply must be replenished constantly. Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and platelets have a shelf life of only five days. The American Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply through nearly 550 blood drives across the country each day. Blood drives hosted by businesses and other organizations contribute nearly 80 percent of blood donated through the Red Cross. As a blood drive host you simply provide a suitable location, help recruit donors within the organization, publicize the drive, and schedule donors for their appointment. The Red Cross will work with you every step of the way to plan and organize the blood drive, bring equipment and supplies to you, and confidentially screen donors and collect donations.
Locally, the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center is located at 313 E Battlefield Rd, Springfield, MO 65807, (800) 733-2767.
In order to donate individually or host a blood drive you can obtain more information online at redcross.org. Or this season The American Red Cross has launched a first-of-its kind Blood Donor App that puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand. The app allows users to schedule blood donations, track their total donations, get rewards and invite friends to join them on a lifesaving team. It sends a clear message to those who roll up a sleeve to give blood – “You hold the power to save a life.” The app is free and available for download on iPhoneTM and AndroidTM devices through the App StoreSM and Google PlayTM.
-By Steph Burns, Public Affairs volunteer