As the COVID pandemic continues, so does the heightened need for blood donations across the nation. The folks at the two YMCA locations in The Woodlands are doing their part to help, hosting blood drives two to three times per month through the end of the year at both facilities.
Roxanne Davis, community liaison for the YMCAs at Branch Crossing and Shawowbend, said the need for blood is urgent and it is critcal that hospitals have fresh blood on hand for medical procedures that require transfusions.
“The blood center needs to collect 800 units daily to meet the hospitals’ need in our community. Due to the pandemic and social distancing, so many large in-person drives have had to be canceled,” Davis said in an email. “The YMCA is here to help meet that need. We are happy to host the donor coach monthly. Every donation can sustain and save up to three lives.”
As part of the partnership between the Greater Houston YMCA and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, the Blood Donor Coach will continue to make stops at both township YMCAs through Dec. 29. There will also be four different free food distribution events through the last four months of 2020, she added.
To register for each individual event, donors can go to the center’s website — https://www.giveblood.org/ — and search for The Woodlands and then choose the date and time of a donation appointment.
For blood donations, all donors must pre-register online and make a reservation; no walk-ins are allowed. Those who have a reservation to donate are required to wear a face mask or face covering and asked to respect social distancing as best possible. Mask required. All donors are also now receiving free COVID-19 antibody test, too.
There are eight remaining dates for blood donations slated for the Branch Crossing, located at 8100 Ashlane Way, The Woodlands. Donors can reserve spots online for Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 13, Nov. 16 and Dec. 29. Each day will see the blood bus part from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the facility.
In addition to those donation dates, there are seven additional chances to donate blood at the Shadowbend YMCA, located at 6145 Shadowbend Place, The Woodlands. These events also feature the blood donation bus, with similar hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on each date. The Shadowbend blood collection visits are scheduled for Sept. 30, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 13, Nov. 16, Dec. 18 and Dec. 29.
And, aside from helping with blood donations, food distribution is also on tap for four different Saturday events from late September through the end of December.
The YMCA Mobile Markets, done in collaboration with the Montgomery County Food Bank, are scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 31, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19 at the Generations Church on Rayford Road:
The free food give-ways are first come, first serve and start each day at 9 a.m. and continue until supplies are depeleted. At past food give-away events, there has usually been enough food for 200 to 300 families depending on availability. Recipients do not need to leave their vehicles and will drive through a pre-set course in the church parking lot before receiving food that is placed in their vehicle by volunteers. Each box normally contains a set amount of meat products, vegetables, dry goods and snacks.
“Yes, six months into the pandemic and the need is still very high. There are so many families still struggling who have lost their jobs and/or income has been drastically reduced. Since early March, the YMCAs of Greater Houston have served more than 450,000 individuals through food distribution sites in partnership with Houston Food Bank, Montgomery County Food Bank and other community partners,” Davis added. “Families line up early to be served. The YMCA is just one of many community organizations helping to address food insecurity in our community.”