COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As more Ohioans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, health professionals with Versiti Blood Center of Ohio said fewer people are donating blood across the Buckeye state.
Versiti is the sole blood supplier to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. As the director of Donor Services at Versiti, Heather Sever said there is an urgent need for blood donations right now.
“Wexner takes about 60,000 units of blood annually, so we provide them with that blood, and we are about 40 percent lower than we were this time last year in donations from schools and businesses,” Sever said.
To encourage people to roll up their sleeves and donate a pint of blood, Versiti is teaming up with local breweries to help. Several Central Ohio breweries, distilleries, and wineries are hosting blood drives during the month of May to help raise awareness for the need. Some locations are even offering a little incentive to donate.
“You give a pint, you get a pint your next visit, so, you know, it’s encouraging them to come back,” said Katy Wolfe, a donor recruitment representative for Versiti. “It gives exposure to the brewery. They’re one big happy family, so we’re all working together.”
Crafted Culture recently opened its doors as the first African-American owned brewery in Central Ohio.
“Everything we do is just rooted in what we call ‘Beer to Change.’ We want to utilize beer to create systemic change, duplicatable change within the community,” said Anthony “Sizzle” Perry, founder and CEO of Crafted Culture.
Perry said hosting a blood drive is part of that change.
“In African-America culture, it’s never really trendy to discuss medical, right, but it’s necessary, so when we have the opportunity to, like, reach out and be the example to the community that we didn’t have growing up, I’m going to relish that every time,” he said.
Versiti hopes by bringing its mobile blood units to these local establishments, donating blood will be a bit easier for people in central Ohio.
“At a time where everybody wants to do something, but they can’t give back, giving blood is the most crucial, important thing you can do that you walk away after an hour of your time, and you feel great about it,” Wolfe said.
For a list of establishments hosting a blood drive, visit www.versiti.org