Deb Harris of the Community Blood Center encourages Merrill residents to donate blood in December. The blood drives being held at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center will help maintain the blood supply throughout the holidays.
Deb Harris of the Community Blood Center encourages Merrill residents to donate blood in December. The blood drives being held at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center will help maintain the blood supply throughout the holidays.

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center will be hosting two blood drives in the final weeks of December. The first blood drive will be held on Monday, Dec. 23, from Noon to 6:30 p.m. The second blood drive will be held on Monday, Dec. 30, from Noon to 6:30 p.m. 
The drives will be held at the Menard Center on the Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center campus, located behind the hospital at 601 S. Center Ave. in Merrill.
Blood donations are projected to decrease substantially in the last two weeks of December, and the blood drives will help maintain a sufficient blood supply during the holidays. 
Donations of all blood types are needed. Donations from people with O-, A-, B-, and O+ blood are especially needed.
Both blood drives are “Pay it Forward” blood drives, where blood donors can enter a drawing to win two $50 gift cards. Winners will be encouraged to use one gift card and give the other gift card to someone in need, “Paying it Forward” this holiday season. Official rules are found at www.communityblood.org.
“Many people are pretty busy right now, and donating blood can get pushed lower on the list of things to do.  With everything that’s going on, it can be easy to forget that patients still need blood transfusions,” said Jan Hadsell of the Community Blood Center. “Giving blood can be a meaningful way to take a step back and help someone in need this holiday season.”
Advance donation appointments are highly recommended, and may be made by calling the Community Blood Center at 800-280-4102 or visiting www.save3lives.org. Walk-in donors are welcome, but scheduling an appointment helps ensure a fast and convenient process.  
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, and bring a photo ID.  Donors are encouraged to eat a regular meal and drink plenty of fluids prior to donating.
Since 1955, the Community Blood Center has worked with volunteer blood donors to provide a steady, reliable blood supply for hospitals. Today, the blood center remains a nonprofit organization committed to serving hospital patients. The blood center is also a donor center with the National Marrow Donor Program, facilitating transplants for patients with life-threatening diseases.