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. It just so happens that this month is National Blood Donor Month, and the timing couldn’t be better, since the month of January is trying for blood banks. From cold weather and snow, to the holidays and flu season, people are less likely to get out and donate at this time of year. And let’s face it, busy mom life means it’s hard carving out time to scope out a place and go there to donate (though the actual blood draw takes about 5 minutes). Knowing that it can really make a difference—especially when you think another mother or child is depending on it—will make your donation have a lasting effect on you and someone else.
Featured image via @vitalantnj
First things first, though– are you eligible to donate blood?
New Jersey requires blood donors to be at least 17 (16 with parental consent) and weigh over 110 pounds. For more information on blood donor eligibility. If you are unable to give blood, or your kids want to get involved, there are other ways to help the cause through your efforts and awareness. If you qualify to donate blood, here are a few drives to check out:
Blood & Platelet Drive for Maternal Health Awareness at Monmouth Medical Center
Unterberg Learning Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
Blood & Platelet Drive for Maternal Health Awareness at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset
Blood Donor Room
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876
Blood & Platelet Drive for Maternal Health Awareness Day at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
It’s inspirational to know that in minutes, I can donate blood to help 3 other people and perhaps save a life. It’s a great way to pay it forward, as we never know when the need might arise for a loved one or ourselves.”
– Margaret Berry, School Nurse, Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center
Can’t make it to a drive? You can schedule an appointment to donate
American Red Cross: Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download.
Central Jersey Blood Center: Call 1-888-71-BLOOD (888-712-5663) or visit cjbcblood.org. Locations throughout New Jersey.
B Positive Plasma: Visit bpositivetoday.com. Locations in Cherry Hill, College Park, and Glassboro.
Unable to donate blood? Here’s how you can help
You may be up for donating, but if you’re feeling sick, recently traveled to another country, have an underlying medical condition, on certain medications or have low hemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells) you may get deferred. But there are still many ways to help (and good ways to get kids involved, too):
SleevesUp Virtual Blood Drives: Create your own online campaign to honor a loved one or a cause that is dear to your heart. Promote your campaign to friends and your community and watch as individuals pledge to donate on your cause’s behalf.
Send an eCard inviting friends and family to donate: Inspire those closest to you by taking the incentive to reach out directly. Challenge your friends and family to give back this season by pledging to donate blood.
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, who run almost entirely on the goodwill of local volunteers.
Organize a blood drive at your local high school: According to Community Blood Services, high school students are responsible for 10% of New Jersey’s blood donations. Hosting a local blood drive is a great way to engage with the community while promoting blood donation education to students and parents. Community Blood Services awards scholarships to students who achieve a high level of donations. You can also request free hosting information from the American Red Cross here.
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. Or opt to make a cash donation to Central Jersey Blood Center.