The coronavirus pandemic has caused an urgent need for blood donations. And American Legion posts are stepping up to host and assist with blood drives, while adhering to safety protocols established to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
Among the upcoming blood drives with American Legion involvement:
• In Troutman, N.C., American Legion Post 401 is hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Post members are working with the Red Cross to ensure social distancing and other measures are followed.
• American Legion Hollywood Post 43 will be transformed into a blood donation center in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The post is teaming up with UCLA Health and the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center for a blood drive Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In a new video message to American Legion members, National Commander Bill Oxford reminds them of the crucial need for blood donations. ”Please consider a blood donation to support these efforts,” said Oxford, who has donated eight gallons during his lifetime. “Additionally, I would encourage American Legion posts to consider working with your local Red Cross to promote — or even host — a blood drive.”
The Red Cross is encouraging donors to keep appointments to not only collect blood from healthy individuals but to ensure social distancing and other safety measures are followed. The Red Cross follows traditional safety procedures such as wearing and changing gloves often, disinfecting donor-touched areas and sterilizing tools before each donation.
Additionally, the Red Cross has updated other policies for blood drives. Those include:
• Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a donation center to make sure they are healthy.
• Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the center, as well as throughout the donation process.
• Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas.
• Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
“We are so very grateful to The American Legion and all those who scheduled upcoming appointments and blood drives to help meet the immediate patient needs,” American Red Cross National Partnerships Director Donna M. Morrissey said. “There remains an ongoing need for platelet donations due to their short five-day shelf life. There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus and the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come.”
If you are able to host a blood drive, please reply online at https://rcblood.org/americanlegion. A representative from the local office will then get back to you shortly.
To schedule an appointment to donate blood, please visit here.
Morrissey expressed her gratitude to those who have donated or who will be donating.
“In times of crisis, the Red Cross is fortunate to witness the best of humanity as people roll up a sleeve to help those in need. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the public to help stock hospital shelves.”