Blood supplies across the nation have taken a serious hit since the COVID-19 outbreak. The East Texas region is approximately 1,500 units low and the nationwide supply is down more than 350,000 units.
For nine years, Tyler Junior College has joined with Carter BloodCare to host the “50 Gallon Challenge” blood drive. This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3, at TJC’s Tyler locations.
Carter BloodCare’s mobile units will be set up each day at the corner of Fifth Street and Baxter Avenue on the TJC main campus and at TJC West, located at 1530 South Southwest Loop 323.
All donors will receive a free event T-shirt, daily prizes and be entered to win one of two $500 academic scholarships. On Monday and Tuesday, all donors will receive Starbucks vouchers. On Wednesday and Thursday, donors will receive vouchers for free food from local food trucks.
“We want everyone to know that donating blood remains a safe practice,” said Clint McCoy, director of operations for Carter BloodCare in Tyler. “The first line of protection for the blood supply is the routine screening of donors. This includes asking potential donors if they are healthy and feeling well on the day of donation as well as screening for temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels.”
Carter BloodCare personnel are also taking special precautions for social distancing and hygiene, such as limiting the number of people who can be on the mobile unit at one time, having donors fill out their check-in forms while sitting in their vehicles and providing extra sanitizing of surfaces and materials.
Persons experiencing any symptoms of illness, including cold or flu, should not try to give blood.
Appointments are not necessary to donate; but to speed the check-in process, potential donors can complete a quick, online screening on the day they plan to donate by going to CarterBloodcare.org and clicking the QuickScreen link on the home page.
Blood donations can also be made at the Carter BloodCare Donor Center located at 815 S. Baxter Ave.
Lauren Tyler, TJC director of student life, said, “One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Tyler is a very giving community and, at times like this, we rely on each other for support.”
For more information, call the TJC Center for Student Life & Involvement office at 903-510-2797 or email Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org.