American Legion Family members have completed at least 26 blood donation drives with the Red Cross since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted lives in the United States. At those drives, at least 881 units of blood have been collected, as of April 24, according to the American Red Cross.
Right now, there are 27 American Legion-American Red Cross drives scheduled. The Red Cross is encouraging American Legion posts to work with local Red Cross volunteers to schedule one in their area.
Here are five things American Legion posts should know about working with a local Red Cross chapter on coordinating a blood drive.
1. The American Legion has a long history of supporting the Red Cross. In 1942, The American Legion launched its Blood Donor program that encourages individual blood donations and post blood drives.
2. During the current coronavirus pandemic, there is an urgent need for blood donations.
3. The Red Cross has enhanced safety precautions to keep donors, volunteers and others safe in this era of social distancing. For example, donors are kept at a distance in waiting areas. Additionally, Red Cross volunteers sanitize chairs, tables, equipment and other items between donors.
4. Safety measures also include blood drives being appointment-only now. Donors are greeted at the door and tested for a fever.
5. Interested in convening a blood drive in your community? The Red Cross recommends visiting this link to learn more and start the process.
American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford is a strong proponent of blood donations. In fact, Oxford has donated eight gallons of blood in his lifetime.
“Please consider a blood donation to support these efforts,” Oxford said in a recent video message from his home in North Carolina. “Additionally, I would encourage American Legion posts to consider working with your local Red Cross to promote — or even host — a blood drive.”