For the 32nd consecutive year, the Masonic Community of Iredell County and other neighboring counties are banding together to help the American Red Cross kick off National Blood Donor Month with a two-day, eight-location blood drive — and it comes at perhaps the most crucial time.
“Now more than ever, the support of the community is needed to ensure blood is available for patients requiring lifesaving blood transfusions,” Maya Franklin, Red Cross regional communications director, said. “With no known end date to the pandemic, it is critical that blood drive hosts and sponsors step up to help provide opportunities for donors who are willing to donate.”
On Thursday, the two-day blood drive kicks off in Mooresville at Broad Street Methodist Church at 10:30 a.m. On Friday, Jan. 8, there will be three more collection sites in Iredell County: The Charles Mack Citizen Center in Mooresville, the Snow Creek Lodge in Statesville at 2 p.m., and the Statesville Civic Center at 8 a.m.
“With the pandemic that’s kind of kept everyone at home, there’s been a lot of canceled blood drives this year,” Duane Smyth, executive director of the Masonic Community Blood Drive, said. “Unfortunately, the need for blood has been pretty constant, so there’s been a shortage.
“I certainly think this blood drive is very important.”
Due to the pandemic, the Masons, along with the Red Cross, are taking the needed precautions to make sure that donors remain safe during the process.
“We’re trying to make the process so that we have as few hand touches as possible, from the registration process, through to triage, collection, and recovery, we’re trying to make it as safe as possible,” Smyth said. “We also had to move to a prepackaged snack and drink service.”
Since 1990, the local Masonic Lodges have partnered with the American Red Cross to conduct these blood drives. In recent years, they have been so big that Red Cross units from across the state of North Carolina have had to be brought in to be able to work all the stations.
Last year, the Red Cross was able to collect 421 pints of blood during the event, an amount, according to Smyth, that impacted more than 1,200 lives.
However, event organizers have not seen the same level of interest this year, whether due to the pandemic or to the adverse weather that could affect the area on Friday but are still hopeful for a strong turnout.
“Typically, when we hold a Masonic Blood Drive, we bring in close to 500 pints of blood,” Smyth said. “Which is a huge boost to the local blood supply.”
For more information on the Blood Drive, or to schedule an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org, use the Blood Donor App and enter code MASONIC, or call 1-800-733-2767
Iredell County Blood Drive Locations
10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Broad Street Methodist Church
355 S. Broad St., Mooresville
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Statesville Civic Center
300 S. Center St., Statesville
Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St., Mooresville
Snow Creek Lodge
558 Dobson Farm Road, Statesville