CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Amidst the chaos of the Coronavirus Pandemic, you may feel an urge to stock up on basic items. However, there are people here in the Lowcountry who can’t do the same for themselves.
Local disaster-relief organizations such as The American Red Cross and The Lowcountry Food Bank heavily rely on donations. This is especially important during times of crisis; so they can continue to serve the community.
Ashley Henyan is the Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lowcountry SC Chapter. She says that demand for blood donations is at an all-time high at both a state and national level.
“1500 blood drives have been cancelled across the country in just the last few days. This is starting to become a very serious problem for people in the hospital with routine procedures like open heart surgery, car accident victims, and cancer patients,” she says.
Henyan says that many individuals have backed out of giving blood because they’re fearful of getting the virus. While she understands why the community has concerns, she also wants people to know that donating blood is still very much safe.
“There has been no evidence of Coronavirus being transmitted through a blood transfusion. The Red Cross is taking extra precautions now to make sure people feel comfortable, and to just put those extra safety measures in place,” says Henyan.
In addition to their typical policies of requiring every donor goes through numerous health checks, they are continuously wiping down surfaces and changing gloves to ensure sanitation is a top-priority.
Henyan says that although the Coronavirus Pandemic is a huge concern; there are so many individuals who are sick and in need of blood.
“People who are already undergoing treatments, for example my sister’s best friend is starting chemotherapy this week,” she says.
As for the Lowcountry Food Bank, the need for food donations isn’t at an urgent level quite yet. However, Chief Development Officer Brenda Shaw says that they are prepared for that to change in the near future.
“Currently we are not seeing any up-tick in the need for food, we certainly anticipate if schools close the need for additional food assistance,” she says.
To try and mitigate the spread of the virus, they are asking for the community to give donations through their website. Additionally, they are prepared to try different methods of dispersion if necessary
“We are looking at mobile food distribution, having people do a drive-thru where our agencies would be giving them a box of food. By doing the box of food, it would reduce the number of times that food is touched by a person,” says Shaw.
For more details on upcoming American Red Cross blood drives in the area, click here. To donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank, click here.