Blood donations sought to meet holiday demand

CONYERS -- The American Red Cross is asking residents to give the gift of life and donate blood at several blood drives planned in the coming days to help metro Atlanta hospitals meet the demand for blood for the Christmas and New Year's holiday period.

Blood drives in Newton and Rockdale counties are part of the Red Cross' challenge to collect 30,000 units of blood between Nov. 19 and Dec. 31 across Georgia, the Carolina Low Country and Northeast Florida. The Red Cross has 594 drives in 106 counties organized for the holiday blood collection challenge. Officials said they have collected just over 20,000 units.

April M. Phillips of the Southern Blood Services Region said blood donations typically decline between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

"The holiday season is a very busy time for many Americans, and unfortunately, giving blood isn't at the top of mind," she said. "While blood donations decline this time of year, the need for blood doesn't take a break for the holidays. Patients in area hospitals still rely on volunteer blood and platelet donors to receive lifesaving transfusions during this time."

Five blood drives are scheduled for Newton County between now and February. The next drive will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at the Covington Kroger, located at 3139 U.S. Highway 278.

Other blood drives in Newton County are 2 to 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at The Church At Covington, 11975 Highway 142, Oxford; 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Covington, 1176 Elm St., Covington; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at Eastside High School, 10245 Eagle Drive; and 12 to 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at Oxford College.

There are two blood drives scheduled in Rockdale County. The first will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, at Conyers First United Methodist Church, 921 North Main St., Conyers, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 12 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 2621 Ga. Highway 20, Conyers.

Walton County has four blood drives planned for January and February as part of the Red Cross challenge, including one from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Jan. 12, at Social Circle High School, 145 Alcova Drive. The other drives are Jan. 19, Liberty First Bank, Monroe; Feb. 6, Corinth Christian Church, Loganville; and Feb. 10, Harmony Baptist Church, Monroe.

Eligible donors must be age 17 or older, or 16 years old with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in general good health. Most blood donors can donate every 56 days and platelet donors every two weeks.

For more information, go to www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.