Giving blood is a way to help people in need by providing something more precious than money or clothing. It’s a life or death scenario that few donors get to see play out.

Currently, the nation’s healthcare system and medical community is being publicized more than ever due to the precautions and treatments for COVID-19. But the American Red Cross is hoping people will remember to continue to be a part of the process as well.

For Dora Dryden and the volunteers at the bimonthly Red Cross blood drives in Rockmart, they are working to keep donations up, provide important information and make sure all donors are safe.

The blood drives now occur twice a month, every other month, at the Great Room fellowship center at The First Baptist Church of Rockmart. The second drive of the month was added recently to try and make up for other community blood drives that were forced to cancel at the height of the pandemic.

“Plus with schools canceling classes in the spring, many spring blood drives at schools had to be canceled, and the Red Cross depends on those a lot,” said Dryden, who serves as the Blood Program Leader for Rockmart.

The cancellation of many special event drives has led to a critical need for blood as regular donors may have concerns about donating in the midst of a pandemic and others don’t get reminded to give either at their work or school.

There are several precautions taken at blood drives to help limit the threat of the new coronavirus, such as temperature checks when entering the building, requirements for wearing face masks and the use of only prepackaged juice and snacks for donors to take after giving blood.

Physical distancing is also put into place, with waiting areas and donating tables spread out to avoid close proximity with others. Donors can also sign up for an appointment online to encourage fewer people coming at once. Dates and times to sign up can be found at www.redcrossblood.org/give.

“So far we are making our goals, and we’re very lucky that we’ve been able to do that,” Dryden said.

The first Rockmart drives of the month have a goal of around 40 donors, which is set by the Red Cross. Since the second drive of the month is newer its goal is around 20 donors.

The next blood drive in Rockmart is scheduled for Sept. 17 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. November will be the next month for the blood drives, with drives on Nov. 10 and Nov. 19.

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