Catholics, Mormons Partner for Month-Long Blood Drive

April 26, 2011

On April 24, the Catholic Diocese of Oakland and 14 Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) announced a partnership with the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region to conduct what is believed to be the largest single blood drive in the history of this Red Cross region and as well as the largest church-organized blood drive in the national organization’s history.

The “InterFaith Community Blood Drive” will consist of 24 day-long blood collections, held at Catholic and Mormon churches mainly in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The drive has an ambitious goal to collect 1,500 units of blood in July.

“We are very excited to partner with the Catholic and Latter-day Saint (LDS) congregations on this month-long blood collection effort," said Jeff Meyer, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region.  “July is traditionally a difficult month to collect blood because people are away on vacation

or spending time outdoors enjoying the summer weather.  The Red Cross appreciates organizations willing to host blood drives during this challenging time.  We thank this interfaith community in advance for its help in ensuring that blood will be available for Bay Area patients this summer.”

In addition to difficulties in the summer, the Red Cross faces an overall deficit in blood donors.  Each year the Red Cross distributes about 120,000 units of blood in the San Francisco Bay Area, but receives an average of only 92,000 units in local collections.

Many of the Oakland Diocese and LDS congregations have held additional blood drives throughout the year.  This will be the first time the two will have partnered on this scale to sponsor a coordinated blood drive.

Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland said, “Dean Criddle (President of the Oakland Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and I were brainstorming ways to combine the efforts of our congregations in service to the broader community.  I felt strongly that we should do something to highlight blood as the gift of life, Christ gave his blood for us – his life, his very self – and he calls us to do likewise for others.

Dean Criddle said, “It seemed that a blood drive would provide our church members with an opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder in meeting a great need in the broader community.  Blood is an intensely personal gift.  In a very literal sense, it is a gift of self – sometimes a gift of life.”

About the Catholic Diocese of Oakland

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is home to over 650,000 Catholics. The Diocese was created in 1962, encompassing Alameda and Contra Costa counties. It is comprised of 84 parishes and is also home to 11 pastoral centers, four specialized service centers, two homes for the aged, five specialized homes, nine high schools, 45 elementary schools and 9 colleges and universities.

The Catholic Church is also the largest private provider of social services across Alameda and Contra Costa counties, offering shelter, meals, counseling, education, health care and other critical services free of charge to over 400,000 people of all faiths each year.

The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland is the diocesan cathedral and was dedicated in 2008. It is the world’s newest Catholic Cathedral.

About the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Latter-day Saints follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving those in need without respect to race, nationality, or religion. The Church is known for its effective member volunteer network, and Church members give freely of their resources to assist the poor and needy.  Since 1985, the Church has distributed over 330 million pounds of donated food, clothing, medicine, and educational supplies in 167 countries.  Today California Church membership is approximately 756,000 or 2.1 percent of the State population.  It is the second largest Christian denomination in California.

About the American Red Cross

The Northern California Blood Services Region of the Red Cross operates five blood donation centers and holds mobile blood drives throughout the Bay Area.  The region supplies blood to 29 Bay Area hospitals.

Donor eligibility involves minimum age, weight and health requirements. Donors must present a donor card, driver's license or two other forms of ID prior to donation. Individuals unable to donate blood can still make a contribution by sponsoring a Red Cross blood drive or volunteering with a local Red Cross Blood Services Region, making a financial contribution, or by learning more about the American Red Cross Humanitarian Services.

Our First-Time Donor section includes information about what to expect when giving blood, tips for a successful donation, and an explanation of what happens to your donated blood.