UNION, NJ — Blood donation is essential for the community, especially today, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Many lives are being lost due to the outbreak, and the township of Union is looking to help save lives.
According to its website, Vitalant, a nonprofit community and blood service provider that supplies comprehensive transfusion medicine services to nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states, is holding a blood drive in Union next month.
The summer blood drive will take place on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parish hall of Holy Spirit Church, 984 Suburban Road in Union Township.
Dan Petruccelli of Holy Spirit Church spoke about the upcoming blood drive and the church’s sponsorship.
“The blood drive will be held within Holy Spirit Church on Suburban Road in Union,” Petruccelli said on July 20. “The event will be sponsored by Holy Spirit along with Father Armand Mantia, who is the pastor of the church.”
Petruccelli also talked about the event’s additional volunteers.
“The event is coordinated by Brenda McEntyre-Saunders of Vitalant,” Petruccelli said. “The Holy Spirit Parish volunteers for this year are Barbara La Mort, David Arminio, Peggy Whitaker, myself and many others.”
According to a media release, residents are told not to donate blood if they are sick. Though all blood donations will be tested for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, they will not be tested for the disease itself.
Though it’s hard not to see this blood drive in the context of the current health crisis, Petruccelli revealed that the church has been hosting blood drives for a long time.
“The blood drive has been held semiannually for more than 15 years,” Petruccelli said. “Twenty or more units of blood are collected at each event.”
According to Petruccelli, “donors who are planning on giving blood … must make an appointment. All are welcome to donate.” Appointments to donate may be made online, at vitalant.org, or by calling 877-258-4825 or 201-251-3703.
Hoping for a successful blood drive this year, Petruccelli lauded the parish’s past achievement.
“The parish is always looking to help,” Petruccelli said. “Our units of blood collected have met or exceeded the goal set by Vitalant every year. We pray that this year’s drive will be successful.”
According to the media release, there are donor guidelines. All donors are required to wear a cloth-based mask or face covering. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, are required to eat a meal before donation, should bring identification, and should drink plenty of water before and after donation. In compliance with social distancing efforts, donations are by appointment only.
In the best of times, blood donations can drop to dangerously low levels during the summer months. Through this and other donation events, Vitalant strives to change that.