Roots Church Hosts Blood Drive

Alex Tiehes reclines as Bryan Kates, a Mercy Washington lab technician, attaches a blood bag during a blood drive hosted at Roots Church in St. Clair Monday, Nov. 23. 

Roots Church, in St. Clair, hosted its third annual blood drive in partnership with Mercy Washington Monday, Nov. 23.

Cheryl Barkhurst, director of donor recruitment for Mercy, said 33 people donated blood on Monday.

All the blood donated locally is used locally, she said, noting the need is now greater than ever given the blood shortage and the challenges presented by COVID-19 to hold drives. 

“The cancer patients are still coming in, we’re still seeing the traumas, we’re still seeing the heart surgeries, those things are still happening in the midst of everything else,” Barkhurst said. “Every country around the globe is experiencing, and working creatively to address, blood shortages.”

The drive was part of Roots Church’s “Love Does” campaign, a month-long effort to help others in the community, according to Kayla Wood, director of outreach at the church.

“There’s nothing else more selfless than giving literally something of yourself to help someone,” Wood said. “It’s a way to give that doesn’t cost you anything financially.” Barkhurst said her team would typically run a blood drive nearly every day of the week, but because of COVID-19, they are only averaging two or three a week.

“This pandemic’s been very hard on everybody,” Barkhurst said. “But, I feel like we’ve had the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sides of humanity during this time.”

Barkhurst said Mercy Washington is grateful to its partner organizations, which are committed to holding their blood drives despite the pandemic. She gave the example of Washington High School, which hosted its drive off-site at the Mercy Medical Clinic. In a normal year, about 120 students donate at that drive, and this year they only saw 32, she said.

“It’s a significant loss, but it’s still something,” Barkhurst said. 

For those interested in donating blood or hosting a blood drive, Barkhurst said it’s important to know that it is still safe. Safety measures in place include temperature checks at the door, requesting donors to use hand sanitizer and wear a mask, as well as a COVID screening, including questions about recent travel or COVID-19 symptoms.

The next blood drive in St. Clair will be Monday, Jan. 25, at City Hall. People are allowed to donate every 56 days after their initial donation. 

For more information about hosting a blood drive, call 314-251-4483.