To help quell the blood shortage that typically hits during summer vacation time, two blood drives will be held locally this week — one in Belmar and the other in nearby Ocean Township.

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive on Thursday, July 26 from 2 to 7 p.m. at its Jersey Coast donation center, 1540 West Park Avenue, Ocean. The ideal blood types for this “power red donation” drive are O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. A power red donation collects the red cells, primarily used for those needing transfusions, and returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor.

Appointments can be made by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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Central Jersey Blood Center (CJBC) will bring its mobile blood services unit to St. Rose R.C. Church in Belmar on Saturday, July 28. Sponsored in partnership with the Knights of Columbus Council 5611, the drive will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the church’s parking lot on Eighth Avenue. There are limited slots available for donating whole blood and red cells only. Call 1-888-71-BLOOD (2 5663) or visit www.cjbcblood.org to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Facing a shortage of more than 1,000 units of platelets and red blood cells this summer, CJBC is also holding a summer raffle to encourage blood donations at one of its donation centers (see below). Blood donors will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a $2,000 Norwegian Cruise Line vacation or a $1,500 shopping spree at Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, Neptune. Donors can earn an additional raffle ticket by referring people, or bringing family or friends who have not previously donated to CJBC.

The raffle runs through September 4, when the winning tickets will be drawn.

Central Jersey Blood Donor Centers

  • Shrewsbury: 494 Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury; 732-842-5750; Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Howell: Howell Plaza Shopping Center, 4068 Route 9 South;732-901-0720; Monday and Wednesday, noon to 8 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Sunday.
  • Toms River: Indian Head Shopping Plaza, 1256 Indian Head Road and Route 9 South; 732-349-3110; Monday, noon to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To ensure the safety of blood donation for both donors and recipients, all volunteer blood donors are evaluated to determine their eligibility to give blood. If you did not meet eligibility requirements in the past, you may be able to donate at another time.

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