SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The New Jersey Blood Services is holding a blood drive at the Spotswood VFW on Monday, March 5 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. to help ease the shortage that has been plaguing the tri-state area all winter. Between freezing temperatures earlier this winter, the flu epidemic and even the recent school shooting in Florida have all been testing the blood supply of the New York Blood Center.

The Winter Olympics Blood Drive at the Spotswood VFW netted 31 pints. However, the center was asked last week to send blood to Florida in the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. In order to keep their supply well-stocked, New Jersey Blood Services is holding another drive.

Donors should be between the ages of 17 and 75 and be in good physical health. A donor can be 16 years of age, but must have a parental consent form. Individuals 76 years of age and older can donate with a doctor's note.

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Walk-ins are welcome, but donors can also schedule appointments online. To schedule an appointment for the blood drive at the Spotswood VFW, visit the drive's webpage. Appointments can also be scheduled by telephoning 800-688-0300.

The donation process takes about sixth minutes. Donors should hydrate well the day before they are scheduled to give blood. It's helpful to snack on salty snacks the evening before as well as get a good night's sleep prior to donating. Eating a well-balanced breakfast the morning of is recommended. Donors should also bring a bottle of water along and drink right before donating.

For additional information on the blood donation process, visit the New York Blood Center's website.

The Spotswood VFW is located on 33 Daniel Road in Spotswood.