The Church completes 200 blood drives in the Central U.S. during 2020 blood shortage

When COVID-19 caused blood donations throughout the United States to dwindle in 2020, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rallied to provide a “profound personal gift of blood” to those who need it.

“It is remarkable what can happen when there is a need, a vision and wonderful organizations with talented caring people to assist those in need,” said Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, North America Central Area president, in a Newsroom release on Feb. 4.

As the blood shortage became critical, Leslie Schaffer, Central Iowa Chapter executive of the American Red Cross, reached out to Susan Sims, Church communication director over Iowa. Within three weeks, a dozen blood drives were scheduled. Eventually, the Church hosted 200 blood drives across 14 central states in its meetinghouses.

Schaffer explained in the release that there is a continual need for blood and donors are the only source.

“The response was heartwarming,” said Schaffer. “I had never experienced such an outpouring of care and concern for the greater good.” 

In Colorado, Katie Moon, a JustServe specialist, helped organize a statewide blood drive initiative in partnership with Vitalant, a blood service provider. Together, they hosted 40 blood drives. More than 4,300 received blood donated by Latter-day Saints and those who attended their blood drives in Denver, Colorado. 

Sharon Jaksa, divisional vice president of the Red Cross South West and Rocky Mountain Division, thanked the Church for its efforts to provide lifesaving blood. “During these unprecedented times it is collaborative efforts like this that help meet our mission,” she said.

Read more about how the Church is responding to this need in communities on the Church’s Newsroom website.