Cherry Hill High School East’s annual blood drive organized by and for students as well as the community takes place this year on March 7 and 8.
Run by the American Red Cross, the two-day drive has taken place for more than 40 years. The committee that plans the event consists of 10 students who work with the Red Cross. This year’s version is spearheaded by East juniors Zachary Pasternack and Kyle Lehrfeld, who were selected from a pool of about 70 applicants.
“I’ve always kind of felt the Red Cross is something I see value in,” Lehrfeld said, “especially since there was a time where I did 5Ks regularly and they alway sent a medical tent and have volunteers who are incredibly friendly. (It’s) just a great organization.”
“We want to help our community, we want to give back,” Pasternack noted. “ … It’s so special to be in a big school with a little less than 2,000 kids and knowing that [we] are making a true impact on our community. We sometimes take that for granted, but I really love doing it.”
The most recent blood drive netted 180 units from about 160 donors, some who contribute more than one unit.
For the past two months, the planners have promoted the drive at East and are now advertising it to the community, though there are some situations that make donation difficult.
“People’s iron levels, that tends to be the biggest issue,” Lehrfeld explained. “We encourage people to drink a lot of water before donating. We make the joke that you should eat a lot of spinach before your donation, but in all seriousness, eat things that are high in iron, spinach being one of them.
“Eat something before you donate,” he added. “You don’t want to donate on an empty stomach and you definitely don’t want to donate while dehydrated.”
Charles Davis, East’s coordinator of student activities, described what donors can expect the day of the drive.
“We’ll have people there to hold your hand and talk to you,” he said. “The whole process takes around 45 minutes to an hour.”
This year’s drive will take place for students only on March 7 and 8 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be open to the community on March 7 from 3 to 8 p.m.
To register, visit https://rcblood.org/3HxokE3.