In response to the growing blood shortage crisis in the United States, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LifeShare Blood Center partnered to help address the critically low supply of blood. The blood drive was part of a semi-annual Ark-La-Tex conference for the 11 local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church of Jesus Christ hosted the blood drive in their church fellowship hall all day Saturday, with floods of members and community participants rolling up their sleeves for the cause. The donations will help relieve some of the pressure on the current blood demand. These donations will also provide financial support to a local community member who has recently received blood transfusions through LifeShare’s sponsorship program.
The goal of the Valentine-themed drive was to collect 62 units of blood. Overall, there were 92 units collected- 48% over the original goal. Benjamin Prijatel, Executive Director of Blood Operations at LifeShare Blood Center, expressed he was “Glad to hear it was so successful. That was half of the units we collected today [in the LifeShare network].”
The need for blood is so urgent that on January 11, 2022, the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers declared the first-ever blood crisis. LifeShare strives to have a three-day blood supply–equivalent to 1188 units– available for the more than 160 hospitals and treatment centers that they supply. LifeShare’s supply levels fluctuate regularly, but they frequently carry less than a three-day supply. These low supply levels are partially due to fewer donors due to pandemic-related disruptions and the requests from other regional networks in more dire straits.
In response to this blood supply crisis, one member of the Church gave blood for the first time, despite fear and reservations about blood and needles. When asked, she described her experience like this, “It was a small thing I could do to serve others as the Savior does. The staff at LifeShare made it such a good experience, especially knowing how nervous I felt.”
Ross Smith, leader over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ark-La-Tex area, stated, “We were thrilled to host a wonderful drive like LifeShare puts on. There is such a crucial need for donations, and we want to join the community by sharing what we can. I felt so happy to see so many people come to donate blood, and we had walk-ins that we were not even expecting! A wonderful event all around!” Please share the love and give blood at this time of critical need. For more information on donating or scheduling a drive for your organization, visit https://www.lifeshare.org.