By Nick Nunn staff writer

Morgan Memorial HosMorgan Memorial Hospital (MMH), along with their partner Shepeard Blood Center, will be hosting a community blood drive next Wednesday, May 14, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in order to celebrate National Hospital Week. Shepeard will be grilling and serving hot dogs and hamburgers to all donors and guests from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Linda Walker, recruitment specialist coordinator for Shepeard Blood Center, said that Shepeard is a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1978, and whose sole purpose is to be the blood provider for 21 local hospitals in Georgia, including MMH. Walker stated that Shepeard works to keep donors’ blood local. “Your blood stays local to help save the lives of everyone that needs transfusions from Morgan Memorial Hospital,” said Walker. Megan Morris, director of development and community relations at MMH, said that the hospital began to partner with Shepeard in March of 2013.

“Our partnership involves Shepeard ensuring that the MMH laboratory is stocked with the blood products that we need,” explained Morris. “MMH has agreed to assist Shepeard in holding drives in the community so that we can ensure our local blood supply needs are met.” “We like to think of this as a ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ approach, as the blood collected in our community comes right back to help other members in their time of need,” continued Morris. Morris added that partnering with Shepeard has been finanically beneficial to the hospital and that Shepeard has “proven to be a great community partner.” Walker said that Shepeard works to keep hospitals supplied with blood “at a minimal cost,” which involves receiving blood from community members in order to keep the supply local. She noted that 187 local citizens gave blood at the first three Shepeard blood drives in Morgan County, which took place at MMH and at Morgan County High School.

“The number of donors and sponsors wanting to support their local hospital by either donating at blood drives or wanting to sponsor a lifesaving local blood drive is growing every month,” said Walker. Walker added that several Morgan County students took a trip to the Shepeard Blood Center in Augusta to take a tour and be able to visit the J.M. Still Burn Center. “They were astonished because they had just come from the burn center where they had witnessed so many patients receiving lifesaving blood,” said Walker. Last Tuesday, May 6, Shepeard held a blood drive at Anthony International in Madison.

Walker said that 45 employees had signed up to donate blood before the event, and she expected that more would come out on the day of the drive. Morris reiterated that the blood drive at MMH next Wednesday, May 14, is an “open invitation” to the community to come out and give blood. “We want to encourage our community members to come out and help our employees celebrate this week by giving back,” said Morris. “No appointment is needed, so individuals can just drop in on their lunch break.” “We understand that some individuals cannot give blood. We still welcome them to come out, eat with us, and meet our employees and great partners from Shepeard.” The Shepeard blood drive at MMH will begin at 11a.m. on Wednesday, May 14, and will last until 6 p.m. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Please come out and donate blood,” said Walker. “School is almost out and we need your help for the many patients who will need blood over the Memorial Day week.”