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Red Cross: Economy Slowing Blood Drives

By Ken Little, posted Sep 4, 2009

Layoffs and a down economy have impacted the ability of the Wilmington chapter of the American Red Cross to hold blood drives at some area businesses, Wilmington Blood Center Director Shannon Jordan said.

“Due to the economy, we’re dealing with business closings and layoffs and we’re not able to go out to some of these blood drives,” Jordan said.

That makes it all the more important for the community to get involved in events like the “Labor of Love” Blood Drive which runs during Labor Day week, Sept. 7-13, Jordan said.

Larger companies like PPD still host blood drives, but during the blood-strapped summer months, the Red Cross has had to resort to other promotions and activities to meet its goals, Jordan said.

“This year we’ve not had as many donors due to the business closings and layoffs,” she said. “There may be layoffs ... but the need for blood does not go away.”

The Carolinas Region of the Red Cross, which includes the Wilmington area and a large portion of the state, must collect 1,600 units of blood every day to meet the needs of hospital patients. The Red Cross has been able to reach that goal, but the work has been challenging during the summer months when schools are out and many people are away on vacation, Jordan said

“Now that the high schools and colleges are getting ready to start up, if we can just push this through September to October we will be in good shape,” Jordan said.

High schools and colleges provide donors that fill about 20 percent of Red Cross needs, she said.

The Labor of Love drive will be held at the Red Cross fixed site at 1102 S. 16th St. The hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Labor Day (Sept. 7), 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8, noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 9, 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 10, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 11 and noon though 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The Red Cross headquarters is open for blood donors from noon to 6 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4:40 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month.

Only 35 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, and only 5 percent of that population actually gives blood, Jordan said.

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