Saratoga Casino Hotel, located at 342 Jefferson St., Saratoga Springs will be holding a blood drive with the Red Cross this Monday, July 22.
The casino has held two drives annually for approximately the past 10 years, according to the casino’s vice president of external affairs and signature service, Skip Carlson.
“To date we’ve had, it looks like 1,500 folks have donated blood,” Carlson said. “I think we normally get anywhere from 75 to 100 people donate [per drive].”
Early this month, on July 9, the Red Cross elevated the national blood shortage from critical to emergency need, as hospitals are now using donated blood faster than it is being donated, according to redcross.org.
According to a press release from the casino, “The Red Cross experienced a shortfall of scheduled blood drives in early July, and as a result, a shortage of blood donations. It is estimated that the Red Cross is currently pacing 17,000 donations behind schedule.”
“Our team members and the local community always respond with tremendous generosity when we host our blood drives,” Alex Tucker, General Manager at Saratoga Casino Hotel, said in the press release. “Our partnership with the Red Cross is something we value, and we look forward to helping them out in a time of need.”
The Red Cross’s website states that to be eligible to donate blood, a person must: not have donated within the past 56 days, be in good health and feeling well, be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds.
According to redcrossblood.org, the Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, each donation can save up to three people and around 3% of eligible donors give blood each year.
Carlson said “We encourage donors to make an appointment. If they would like to schedule an appointment time, they can call 518-581-5801, or they could go online and the online address is www.redcrossblood.org.”
He clarified that “It’s not necessary, but it’s encouraged. So that things would flow more efficiently.”
As for why the casino is hosting a blood drive, he said that the Red Cross originally came to them, and that it was likely a matter of convenience.
“People can come to the casino, we have very convenient parking, we set it up in our ballroom, which is very easily accessible right in through the hotel entrance,” Carlson said. Once the donors are in place, the casino leaves it to the Red Cross, since “they have the experience and the expertise in doing the blood drives.”
He added that “if you’ve ever given blood, when you do it, it’s a feel good kind of thing, you feel like you’re helping someone and if you can make it seamless and not that difficult, I think that’s half the battle.”
Additionally, Carlson said that people who go to the casino to donate also receive “a $10 voucher to Perks Café where you can get some coffee, or a Danish or something like that.”
Perks Café is located in the hotel lobby. Additionally, the Red Cross will be providing free t-shirts.
For more information, call Saratoga Casino Hotel at 518-584-2110, or visit the Red Cross’s website at redcross.org or redcrossblood.org.