American Red Cross to host blood drives in Berrien, Cass counties
DOWAGIAC — The American Red Cross has announced several opportunities for southwest Michigan residents to give blood in the coming weeks.
Blood drives are scheduled to be hosted at several locations in both Berrien and Cass counties, including from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 28 at Pleasantville Church of Christ in Cassopolis, 60550 Crooked Creek Road in Cassopolis.
A donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross, JP Lanning, works with businesses, schools, churches and anyone in Berrien, Van Buren, Cass and Kalamazoo counties to set up blood drives, recruit donors and put on the actual drives.
The Red Cross adheres to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines regarding COVID-19 practices, which include measures such as taking temperatures of donors upon arrival and keeping beds 6 feet apart.
Finding suitable locations for blood drives has been a challenge for Lanning.
“Our biggest challenge is finding spots big enough to run,” Lanning said. “In the past, a church basement or a small building would do. Now, we need a gym or banquet center. Thankfully, people have been incredibly understanding. The mask thing can be very political, but we haven’t had any incidents because people understand.”
With schools busy making sure they are prepared for the return of students in the fall, Lanning said that school districts are refraining from hosting blood drives on their campuses. According to Lanning, 30 percent of the Red Cross’ blood supply comes from high school and college students.
“I don’t want people to have to drive long distances for blood drives,” Lanning said. “I can’t ask schools — they’ve kept everything closed for a reason. Finding spaces that are air-conditioned, clean and don’t charge much being that we’re a nonprofit, is tough. Rooms just aren’t available that give us the space we need.”
Lanning added that Red Cross will test all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies as an additional health service to donors. This testing may indicate whether donors may have possibly been exposed to this coronavirus. The antibody test is not a replacement for a COVID-19 test.
Information regarding blood donations or other services can be located online at redcrossblood.org or call 1-(800)-Red-Cross.
Upcoming Red Cross Blood Drives in Berrien and Cass counties:
• July 20 — Noon to 6 p.m., Lawton Evangelical Mennonite Church, 425 S. Nursery St. in Lawton
• July 23 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pioneer Memorial Church, 8655 University Blvd. in Berrien Springs
• July 24 — Noon to 6 p.m., Calvary Bible Church, 27032 Marcellus Hwy. in Dowagiac
• July 24 — Noon to 5 p.m., Hartford United Methodist Church, 425 E. Main St. in Hartford
• July 28 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pleasant View Church of Christ, 60550 Crooked Creek Road in Cassopolis
• July 29 — Noon to 6 p.m., Hidden Pointe Fun Park & Event Hall, 1062 Nickerson Ave. in Benton Harbor
• July 31 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2673 W. John Beers Road in Stevensville
• Aug. 5 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Greater Niles Senior Center, 1109 Bell Road in Niles