Blood program tries to recover from 30-year low, brought on by pandemic, Texas freeze
Carter BloodCare is counting on the employees of H-E-B stores in Central Texas to help encourage blood donation this summer, amid an urgent need. It is the 18th Annual “H-E-B Challenge” blood drive when the grocery chain prioritizes blood donation awareness. Summer is the season when blood donors are traditionally harder to find. Since the pandemic, Carter BloodCare and blood programs nationwide, have suffered the worst blood shortage in decades. Blood donors of all blood types are needed now and new blood donors are encouraged to give it a try.
H-E-B began its community partnership with Carter BloodCare in 2002 with a large-scale, companywide, multi-location blood drive event. Since then, H-E-B has helped collect 7,348 pints of life-saving blood. One pint can save at least three lives, so the grocery company can estimate 22,000 lives they have helped to save.
In 2020, during a pandemic, the H-E-B Challenge registered 650 blood donors and collected 571 pints of blood. The 2021 blood drive is hosted at Central Texas H-E-B locations for two weeks beginning Friday, June 18 and continuing through Sunday, July 11.
“More than 20 percent of Carter BloodCare’s annual collections come from high school blood drives. When school is out for the summer, the loss of those blood drives reflects heavily in the blood collections,” said Linda Goelzer, APR, director of public relations for Carter BloodCare. “During the 2020 school year, Carter BloodCare hosted limited high school blood drives because of COVID-19, so the H-E-B partnership is even more significant this year. When you donate blood at this Texas-based grocery company, you’re giving blood for fellow Texans.”
H-E-B Challenge is coming to the Ennis area with two different opportunities to give.
The drives will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, June 18 and July 9. Both drives will be located at 1101 S. Clay St. in the parking lot on the Carter BloodCare bus. For more information or an appointment time, contact Jonathan K. at (972) 875-7720.
Employees of each participating H-E-B store challenge each other to encourage the most blood donors. The store with the highest ratio of blood donors to partners (employees), receives a traveling trophy. This type of competition equals the playing field between small and large stores. The store with the highest number of pints donated at their blood drive is also awarded a trophy. Additionally, Carter BloodCare’s Central Texas staff hosts an ice cream social for the employees of the two winning H-E-B stores. Mexia H-E-B is the reigning 2020 champion for percentage of donor participation with 33%. Wooded Acres H-E-B in Waco repeated a win in 2020 for the highest number of donations collected – 51 pints.
Potential blood donors may volunteer beginning at age 16 with parental consent; 17-year-olds may give independently and there is no upper age limit for donating blood. All donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, feel well on the day of donation and present a government-issued photo ID each time they give blood. It’s also a good idea to eat a nutritious meal and drink plenty of water before donating blood. For more information on donor eligibility and to make an appointment, call 1-800-366-2834 or visit carterbloodcare.org.
About Carter BloodCare
Carter BloodCare is an independent, community blood center providing transfusion resources to more than 180 medical facilities in 50-plus counties of North, Central and East Texas. The non-profit 501(c)(3) organization is one of the largest blood programs in Texas, delivering more than 450,000 blood products annually to meet hospitals’ requirements for their patients. Services include collection, processing, specialized laboratory testing, storage and distribution of blood and blood products. ?Tu centro de sangre comunitario.