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Save the day by donating blood

The Red Cross is creating a “super” way to help save lives during the worldwide pandemic.

COVID-19 regulations continue to hinder regularly scheduled events, including blood drives. Blood is in high demand due to the pandemic, while blood drives are canceled because of gathering restrictions.

“We have seen a blood shortage mainly due to losing a lot of blood drives,” said Shnika Matthews, a phlebotomist for Red Cross. “Businesses are closing and having people work from home, so we are losing our normal places to have drives. We now have to look for spaces large enough, and we can keep returning.”

Fortunately, Community Church opened its doors for the Red Cross to come as long as they need it. Community Church is hosting two blood drives at separate times this month, one at its Suffolk campus and another at its Western Branch campus.

“We started opening our doors in June because the Red Cross lost many locations for blood drives,” said Romy Feliciano. “We wanted to do this because we know the Red Cross gives back to the community and provides for those in need.”

The Red Cross joined forces with “Wonder Woman 1984” and Warner Bros. to promote superheroes to “save the day for people in need.” According to the Red Cross, superheroes are in short supply, with only three out of 100 people donating blood.

One of the donors was Lynn Nelson. She called herself a regular donor.

“I give as often as I can,” said Nelson. “It’s something I can do to give back.”

Another donor was Kathleen Coyne. Coyne came to donate in honor of a friend’s daughter, who passed away at the age of 8. The little girl was born with a rare disease where her organs were outside of her body.

“I am donating today in support of Molly,” said Coyne. “Molly passed away after her third surgery. If it weren’t for blood donors, we wouldn’t have had that much time with her. That’s why I’m donating for the first time today.”

To follow the church and Red Cross guidelines, as donors entered the door, their temperatures were checked, and hand sanitizer and masks were available. The waiting area spaced out the chairs to promote social distancing.

Community Church has more blood drives scheduled in the coming months. The Western Branch campus, 1935 Jolliff Road, Chesapeake, has a blood drive on July 31. The Suffolk campus, 1242 Holland Road, is scheduled for Aug. 19 and Sept. 16, with times from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The July 31 drive will be the last chance to enter to win replica props from the “Wonder Woman 1984” movie.

“We will continue to do this as long as the Red Cross needs somewhere to host donations,” said Feliciano. “Our goal as a church is to help as many people as possible in their current situation, give them hope, and let them know they are loved and matter.”

To donate, please make an appointment to give by using the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-733-2767, or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.