Vikings of Solvang will conduct a community blood drive this month at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall in response to a nationwide shortage of blood caused by canceled blood drives amid pandemic-induced school and business shutdowns.
“The need for blood, platelet and convalescent plasma donations is ongoing even during this pandemic,” said Vikings Chief Richard Kline. “Anyone can be a genuine hero, helping to save lives, by donating blood.”
The blood drive is slated for 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 21 and 22, and is open to healthy donors 18 years and older.
Donors will be gifted a $25 voucher courtesy of Vikings of Solvang, redeemable for dinner that same night at participating local restaurants.
“This effort relies on the generous people in the Santa Ynez Valley,” said Vikings blood drive chairman Kim Jensen. “The free dinner is our way to thank you for your support — and for your donation of blood for those who need it.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of blood donations overall has dropped, according to Vitalant blood services, a nonprofit blood collection organization that provides professional blood-drawing services.
Vitalant will test all patient donations for COVID-19 antibodies, and will allow donors who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered to donate convalescent plasma which may help those patients currently fighting the disease.
Walk-ins are welcome, however, in light of saving time and limiting contact with others, Vitalant urges donors to make reservations online in advance at www.donors.vitalant.org, and enter blood drive code 1081, or call 805-542-8500.
In compliance with state and county health orders, all donors are required to wear face coverings while indoors. Temperatures also will be taken upon arrival, and donation chairs also will be spaced 6 or more feet apart. Donors are asked to bring photo identification, and eat and drink plenty of water prior to arriving.
For more information about the event, contact Jensen at 805-266-8768.
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Preciado, who was born in Santa Barbara and raised in the Santa Ynez Valley, is an active member of the Vikings of Solvang and has volunteered with the United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and as a youth basketball coach with the YMCA.