(Photo by Clay Lomneth)

Holiday Donor Blood Drive starts Nov. 24

Thanksgiving marks the start of the annual American Legion Holiday Donor Blood Drive that lasts until Dec. 31. Legionnaires everywhere are encouraged to give blood and host blood drives at posts as part of The American Legion Blood Donor Program - an organizational effort that has existed since 1946 to help a lifesaving cause. Last year, the Legion’s program brought in 75,960 pints of blood from more than 49,000 donors nationwide.

Posts and departments that donate the most blood are honored at national convention each year. Last August, the Departments of Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota and California were awarded for their contributions. Departments are separated into six categories, according to size, and are recognized in two areas: for post participation and individual Legionnaire participation. Post participation awards are given to departments with the highest number of participating posts and individual participation awards are given to departments with the highest percentage of individuals giving blood. See a list of the department categories here.

For information on how to donate blood, visit:

- American Red Cross, www.redcrossblood.org

- American Association of Blood Banks, www.aabb.org

- Council of Community Blood Centers, www.givingblood.org

Posts interested in hosting blood drives can set one up by visiting the Red Cross’ blood drive registration page.