SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) is issuing an urgent call for healthy blood donors to donate blood at St. Augustine's Church in Kendall Park. The blood drive will be held on Wednesday, September 2nd between 1:30pm-7:30pm. St. Augustine's RC Church is located at 45 Henderson Road in Kendall Park. Donors will receive a $5 e-gift card after the blood drive.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins will be taken if social distancing can be maintained. Visit http://smarturl.it/NJBS_ZipSea... or call/text 800.933.BLOOD. The need for blood has rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels, but maintaining the blood supply is particularly challenging as the pandemic continues. In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are far below that minimum.

Before COVID-19, mobile blood drives hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses made up about 75% of the region's incoming blood supply, but all drives had to be canceled beginning in March due to the pandemic. At that time, NJBS was able to sustain the community blood supply through donations at its donor centers, but only because blood utilization sharply declined as hospitals stopped elective surgeries and stay-at-home orders were in place.

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In June, NJBS began safely holding a limited number of mobile blood drives each week, but they are far from the 600 drives per month required to meet the need at area hospitals. Most large organizations that typically host blood drives during the summer have not reopened and still have most employees working from home.Donating blood is safe and it only takes one hour. We are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. NYBC staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to presenting at work.

As always, people are not eligible to donate if they're experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.