GREAT FALLS — The Montana Red Cross is asking people to give blood in honor of Black History Month. As an incentive, all donors who give in February will receive a $5 Amazon gift card, made possible by a $1 million donation from Amazon.
Montana Red Cross director Diana Wright told MTN that when the temperatures drop this low, a lot of people tend to cancel their blood appointments. But despite the winter weather and potential decline in supply, the Red Cross still has a high demand for blood and plasma donations.
They’re also using Black History Month to promote the accomplishments that African-Americans have made within Red Cross.
“We are celebrating Black History Month and African-Americans have contributed so much to our country, and particularly at Red Cross,” Wright said. “Dr. Charles Drew, you may not know this, but he’s actually the brains behind our Bloodmobile. So, when we have blood drives and we don’t have the space in our location, we send out the Bloodmobile."
"He was the brains behind that. Dr. Jerome Holland, he has been on our Board of Governors for many, many years, and he has contributed much to advance research in blood and blood products. So, this is a great time, not only because it’s winter, but in honor of Black History Month, it’s a great time to get out and donate blood," Wright added.
Wright also added that COVID-19 has had a strong impact on the Red Cross over the past year, affecting everything from the need from their demand to the precautions they have had to take to keep staff, volunteers, and donors safe.
“It’s impacted us in many ways, not only in the procedures, we have heightened cleaning, extra safety protocols at our blood drives, so it’s changed in that regard,” she explained. “We’ve had lots of businesses that their employees are now working from home, so they don’t have the space in their offices where we would normally have a blood drive. We’re always looking for new blood sponsors, we’ve had people who don’t feel safe going out in the public, even though giving blood is very safe. So, that’s impacted our collections.”
You can find available blood donation times and learn how to sign up at redcrossblood.org.