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Editorial: Blood drive sparks community support

We were encouraged to see a parade of people last Thursday at Ridgeland Baptist Church as they waited to donate blood.

The American Red Cross said it is suffering a critical blood shortage, with 61,000 fewer donations than needed in the past two months.

The need is great and the community responded with a strong blood-drive turnout of 51 registered donors.

Carrie Friend, American Red Cross account manager, was pleased with the response. She said Ridgeland is often a host site for blood drives because the community can be counted on to donate.

The Ridgeland Fire Department, town employees and many locals were among those who arrived early.

The atmosphere was relaxed as people discussed their desire to help others.

Susan Cope of Ridgeland has donated blood for more than 30 years. She said she continues to participate in blood drives because it’s a small way to help people in need.

“It’s something to do to help someone,” Cope said. “This is the easiest thing you can do to save a life.”

The American Red Cross said about 1,200 blood donations are needed each day from donors in the Southern Blood Services Region, which covers most of Georgia and parts of Florida and South Carolina.

Last fiscal year the region had 129,000 volunteer blood and platelet donors.

Blood donations are important because the Red Cross, which provides blood for patients in about 2,600 hospitals across the U.S., estimates every two seconds someone in the country needs blood.

Last week’s blood drive was vital because it was held during the summer, which the Red Cross said is typically a slower time for blood drives because of vacations and other activities.

About 700 fewer blood drives are scheduled during the Independence Day week than the weeks before and after the holiday, the Red Cross said.

But despite heat indexes that soared above 100, the community took time last week to donate.

“The more the people that come and give, the more the word will get out that this is something that is easy to do,” Cope said.

Kudos to the community for helping make a difference.

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