Legion posts fill a critical need with blood donations
Missouri American Legion Post 114 member Will Perry donates blood during the post's April 3 blood drive.

Legion posts fill a critical need with blood donations

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lives of many worldwide and affected the daily normalcy of everyone. One organization that has felt this impact is the American Red Cross.

According to the Red Cross, concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic has canceled blood drives at an alarming rate across the country – as of April 6, more than 14,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 425,000 fewer blood donations.

But American Legion posts are helping to keep the blood supply going during this crisis.

American Legion Post 114 in Sikeston, Mo., hosted a blood drive April 3 where 20 units of blood were received. To prepare for the blood drive, post members re-painted certain areas, deep cleaned the floors, thoroughly sanitized every space that would be utilized such as the bathrooms, and replaced all the ceiling tiles with new ones. Post 114 followed updated policies issued by the Red Cross on how to safely conduct blood drives during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We think it is critical for our post to play a role in whatever crisis faces our community, state or nation,” said Blair Moran, a life member of Post 114 and a member of The American Legion National Legislative Commission. “Through the years we have answered the call and this is just another example of our post wanting to help our nation as it faces one of the most serious crises in our nation's history.”

The Red Cross advises American Legion members that donating blood remains a safe process during these concerning times. And it is considered an essential effort to help keep the blood supply stable.

“We did not hesitate when the Red Cross asked our post for assistance in helping supply the nation with blood since there is such a critical shortage of blood from the coronavirus,” Moran said.

Other Legion blood donation efforts

Together, American Legion Post 280 and VFW Post 2671 in Benton, Ill., hosted a blood drive April 8 that resulted in more than 40 donors. Red Cross staff were onsite to draw blood and practice safety measures. Donors were able to easily schedule an appointment to give blood by going online to the Benton Legion and VFW website.

The American Legion Department of Ohio is hosting a blood drive April 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its headquarters, 60 Big Run Rd., Delaware, OH 43015. To schedule an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org and use “Legion” for your sponsor code. The Department of Ohio stated on its Facebook that it's “very excited to partner with the Red Cross during the current public health crisis to assist in meeting the demand for blood donors.”

Red Cross updated policies for blood drives 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.

How you can help

If your post can host a blood drive, please sign up here. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit here. The Red Cross is asking donors to sign up beforehand, instead of just walking in, to maintain safety standards.