Inaugural “Toys for Tots” Blood Drives

December 6, 2009

(Tuscaloosa, AL)- The winter is well on its way, bringing holidays of thanks and time spent with families. This winter, by giving blood at an American Red Cross blood drive, you can help make sure that those who find themselves in need of blood through the holiday period will have a chance to enjoy another holiday with family. This December, presenting volunteer donors in Tuscaloosa County will have a chance to not only give the gift of life, but also give a holiday gift to a child in need through the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program.

Volunteer blood donors in Tuscaloosa County will get a chance to give blood and save lives at the DCH “Toys for Tots” blood drives blood drives, scheduled for Wednesday, December 2 fro 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northport Medical Center in Northport. “Toys for Tots” drive will also be held at DCH in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, December 9 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Thursday, December 10 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The drives are sponsored by DCH, Northport Medical Center, the Mike Spann Detachment of the Marine Corps League and the American Red Cross.

One of the best ways to protect our communities, our friends and families and our country through the extended holiday period is to be prepared for disasters before they occur. By giving blood, you’re helping America by preparing our healthcare system for almost any situation that may occur. 

“Giving blood really is a patriotic and selfless thing to do when it comes down to it,” said Evan Duffy, Senior Communications Specialist for the American Red Cross. “People who give blood give something that can’t be made in a lab or manufactured by modern medicine. Without it, lives would be lost.”

In other words, blood is critically needed, especially during the pre- and post-holiday seasons. Donors who have either of the Type O blood types are especially in demand, as more than 50 percent of blood ordered through hospitals is Type O. A single traffic accident victim can require between four and 100 units of blood. A bypass patient can need four to six units of blood to survive. An infant born with Rh factor complications must have at least a unit of blood to survive. And patients like these need blood every two seconds in the United States, making it critical that donors give blood for the good of humanity.

Because blood can be separated into three components – blood, platelets and plasma – one donation can benefit up to three individuals. Because it takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency. If everyone who was eligible would donate four times a year, there would never be a blood shortage.

If you plan on giving blood, make sure to prepare yourself for the process. Double your fluid intake in the 48 hours leading up to the drive. Make sure to eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as the day of, the blood drive. Eat iron-rich foods such as lean beef, broccoli, eggs, greens, shrimp or dried beans. Also consume foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the drive.

During the month of December, every presenting volunteer donor at an American Red Cross blood drive or donor center will be entered into a regional drawing for a pair of round-trip domestic tickets on Delta Air Lines as part of the “Give Blood and Go!” promotion. All presenting volunteer donors are also encouraged to bring along a toy for the “Toys for Tots” program, and the American Red Cross will donate a toy in honor of each presenting volunteer donor at the drives. 

The American Red Cross, Blood Services, Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Region , which supplies blood to approximately 100 hospitals, needs 800 blood donors each day in order to meet the needs of patients in the region. Blood donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. Please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.