A statewide campaign for more workplace blood drives has been launched by the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition. The summer campaign is calling on more employers to host in-house blood drives through Labor Day, in an effort to alleviate a blood shortage in the summer months.

The Garden State faces a persistent blood shortage, one that becomes more dire in the summer as people break from work and school.

blood drop

"The need for blood donations is a year-round challenge. Hospital and patient needs remain the same throughout the year," explained Mary O'Dowd, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services(DHHS) Commissioner.

She said hospitals frequently have less than a two-day supply of blood on hand, a situation that could potentially put patients at risk.

O'Dowd continued, "The reasons individuals most often give for not donating are that they are unaware of the need for blood, have never been asked or that it is inconvenient. Employers have a unique opportunity to increase awareness of the need and make it convenient for their employees to donate."

As part of the campaign, 400 packets of blood drive promotional materials were sent to medium-to-large businesses and trade and professional associations.

"For companies, supporting blood donation is an easy and inexpensive way that they can maintain their commitment to corporate citizenship," said Kevin Rigby, co-chair of the Workplace Blood Donor Coalition.

Rigby said blood drives could also boost employee morale by creating a meaningful, voluntary activity that saves lives.

New Jersey is the largest net importer of the blood in the United States. Of the approximately 331,000 units of blood transfused in New Jersey last year, more than 42,000 units were imported from other states.

"The percentage of eligible donors in New Jersey who donate on a regular basis is well below the national average of 5 percent," said O'Dowd. "There is a significant need for blood from people of all races and ethnicities."

She said workplace blood drives also offer an opportunity to gather donations from ethnic groups whose blood types are often in short supply.

The Coalition was co-founded in 2008 by DHHS and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.


More From New Jersey 101.5 FM