American Red Cross workers collected only 37 productive units of blood at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro Monday afternoon, but spirits were high among those who donated.
“Our goal was to have 60, and we had 48 scheduled appointments,” organizing volunteer Shirley Kasper said. “Some of those were not accepted, and others did not show up, the weather might have kept some away.”
Rain showers and hail created soggy conditions for those arriving at the church at the beginning of the blood drive, but in the hours that followed weather was not a factor.
Volunteers were on site from 1 to 6 p.m. and a slow but steady stream of donators kept conversation flowing, along with the platelets and plasma.
Alvin Hett and several fellow employees from Countryside Feeds arrived after 5 p.m.
“We don’t really plan this,” Hett said. “It just happens that there are a number of us that go at the same time.”
Hett said he was a regular donor, giving blood twice a year since 1967.
“I got started when I was younger and I just keep going,” he said. “I feel it is a good thing to help out. I know it is always needed.”
According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds, and more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
The American Red Cross is currently providing blood products to meet the needs of those injured in the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion last week.
In Boston, Red Cross Blood Services already has provided 500 blood products to victims of the marathon bombings.
“When I wrote a letter to the paper a few weeks ago requesting more young people to donate, I had no idea there would be such a timely need,” volunteer Gladys Funk said. “I don’t why we didn’t have more people donating today, there isn’t any illness going around that I know of.”
Funk and Kasper said they usually counted on several Tabor College students showing up to donate, but thought they likely donated at a college-sponsored event already held this spring. Likewise, some high school clubs have started sponsoring their own blood drives.
“Making sure we have adequate blood supply is near and dear to my heart,” Funk said. “I am so very, very appreciative of all our older people who donate, but we really need to impress on the younger generation how important this is.”
Hett said fear of needles or just uncomfortable situations might keep some young people away from donating blood.
“Any new situation is uncomfortable,” he said. “But there is so much good that comes from this; and it really isn’t hard and doesn’t hurt.”
Countryside Feeds operation manager Luke Lindsey and sales manager Bill Fish joined Hett for blood donation, exiting just before the 6 p.m. deadline. Laughter and camaraderie between donators, table volunteers, and Red Cross workers brought the event to a successful conclusion despite the lower number of donations than expected.
“We’ll do this again in six months,” Kasper said. “Maybe there will be more people that can donate then.”