If you’re looking for ways to be more charitable this year, we have one that can make a huge impact just by giving a few minutes of your time. The pandemic has affected blood donations, putting our hospitals on the verge of a national blood shortage. And with National Blood Donor Month happening now, the outlook for blood banks couldn’t be more urgent—cold weather, snow, and COVID spikes make it less likely for blood banks to get donors. But if you can do it, know that your donation (the blood draw only takes a few minutes) can make a huge difference, especially to the critical moms and kids who depend on it. Read on to find out if you qualify and the RWJBarnabas Health drives where you can easily donate.
Featured Photo Credit: iStock/Svitlana Hulko
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Why it’s so urgent for blood right now
Before the pandemic, high school and college blood drives supplied 40% of donations across the country. Since these are still on hold indefinitely, the urgency for donations is at an all-time high. In fact, blood donation in NJ has been down over 25% since late summer. Because of this, hospitals can’t keep up with the demand for blood, which has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The impact can be deadly—moms especially are at risk since one in 83 births will require a blood transfusion, and hemorrhage is the leading cause of death during delivery in the United States. And access to safe blood products makes a difference—people in car accidents, home accidents, cancer care, and children can benefit from blood donations.
What to expect if you qualify
So you want to donate but are not sure if you can? Check out if you qualify first. Jersey requires blood donors to be at least 17 (16 with parental consent) and weigh over 110 pounds (120 pounds if 16 years old). Donors must present a photo ID at the time of the donation. If you need more information about blood donation eligibility (especially if you’ve had COVID recently), check out this fact sheet for more info.
And rest assured, the centers and all RWJBarnabas Health Blood Drives have rigorous safety protocols in place to protect all donors. There are temperature checks of staff and donors, required face coverings, social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, and strict sanitary protocols, including disinfection of donor areas. Donors must also wear masks or face covering during the entire process.
Where to go right now to donate blood
Monmouth Medical Center
January 12 from 1 PM – 7 PM
This is an Emergency Blood and Platelet Drive
Dangerously low blood supply. Please help!
Monmouth Medical Center Unterberg Learning Center – 300 2nd Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740
Call for an appointment: 732.235.8100, ext 221, or online at rwjuhdonorclub.org.
Pints for Preemies Saint Peter’s University Hospital
January 14 from 12 PM – 6 PM
Donate blood for the littlest ones.
Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Sister Marie de Pazzi Conference Center – 254 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
BlueClaws and RWJBarnabas Health
January 18 from 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Emergency Blood and Platelet Drive. All donors will receive two FREE BlueClaws tickets for the 2022 season and be entered to win a $50 gift card and BlueClaws VIP experience for 20 people with a Luxury Suite and 20 Boardwalk, and Mini Golf passes. Pre-registration is strongly recommended and can be made by clicking here.
BlueClaws Stadium, #2 Stadium Way, Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 235-8100 x 221 or x 248
Arline & Henry Schwartzman Courtyard at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
January 24 from 12 PM – 6 PM
Blood donations are needed.
Arline & Henry Schwartzman Courtyard at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – 1 Robert Wood Johnson Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
West Orange Community Blood and Platelet Drive
February 3 from 10 AM – 6 PM
The West Orange Police Department is sponsoring a blood and platelet drive and all donors will receive a raffle with a chance to win one of four $25 Wawa gift cards.
Toby Katz Recreation Center – 650 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052
(732) 235-8100 x248
Livingston Community Center Blood Drive
February 10 from 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Support local hospital patients and all donors will be entered to win one of four $25 gift cards.
Livingston Senior/Community Center – 204 Hillside Avenue, Livingston, NJ 07039
(732) 235-8100 x248
Unable to donate blood? Here’s how you can help
You may be up for donating, but if you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last month, have an underlying medical condition, are on certain medications, or have low hemoglobin, you may get deferred. But you can still help out by getting involved.
SleevesUp Virtual Blood Drives: Create an online campaign. Promote your campaign to friends and your community and watch as individuals pledge to donate on your cause’s behalf.
Volunteer at a Blood Drive: Make an impact while learning new skills, meeting new people in your community, and doing good by helping organizations like the American Red Cross, which run almost entirely on the goodwill of local volunteers.
Make a financial donation: It is easy to make a financial contribution to Disaster Relief, your Local Red Cross, or “where it is needed most,” with the click of a mouse.