11:36 AM

Community Impact: American Red Cross of Northeast Georgia

Groceries and hand sanitizer weren’t the only things in short supply when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation in March 2020. The American Red Cross faced a severe blood shortage after an unprecedented number of blood drives were canceled during the pandemic.

“As the pandemic grew, we saw blood drive cancellations grow at an alarming rate,” said Joe Vella, regional philanthropy officer for the American Red Cross of Northeast Georgia. “This impacted patients who needed surgery, victims of car accidents or other emergencies, and patients suffering from cancer. Healthy individuals were needed to give blood to help patients counting on lifesaving blood throughout the pandemic.”

With 40% of the nation’s blood supply provided through the American Red Cross, the organization takes pride in the fact that it provides a safe and efficient blood supply to fill the nation’s needs, he adds.

The American Red Cross received one of 32 grants to nonprofit organizations responding to the pandemic in spring 2020.The local chapter that serves Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Franklin,Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison and Oglethorpe counties received a $10,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation for biomedical services for blood collection.

“While the coronavirus pandemic has grabbed ahold of us and thrown us into a frenzy, the work of the Red Cross to fill its day-in, day-out mission continues,” Vella said. “The $10,000grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation is a significant sum that we didn’t have for biomedical purposes, and we are doing what we can to assure a safe and available blood supply.”

For more information visit, redcross.org/local/georgia and select the north east Georgia chapter.