October 6, 2011
Around Town – By Neal Tepel
Each year Local 338 RWDSU/ UFCW – representing thousands of local workers including those in the retail and grocery businesses runs a blood drive for the benefit of the New York Blood Center. The campaign started after the September 11, 2001 attacks as a means to help save lives in the local community, while also honoring and remembering those that lost their lives on that day.
Local 338’s tenth annual blood drive took place September 23 at the Queen Center Mall in Elmhurst as union members and community residents rolled up their sleeves and donated 45 pints of blood for the day. As a single pint of blood can contribute byproducts to save three lives, the campaign’s one-day haul will impact 135 lives.
Since being initiated a decade ago, the union’s blood contribution program has donated more than 300 pints of blood. This year’s collection, yielded 180% more donations than the medical staff anticipated, causing the Bloodmobile to stay an extra three hours at the Queens Center Mall.
Commenting on the result of the campaign and why the effort is so important to the union, John R. Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU/ UFCW said, “It takes nearly 2,000 people to donate blood each day to keep the Blood Center fully stocked and prepared to handle any emergency. Local 338 and the members of our union are exceptionally proud to be there to support the Blood Bank of New York.”
New York Blood Center Vice President Rob Purvis said, “What’s so critical for us to remember is that blood donors are needed not just after incidents like 9-11 and Hurricane Irene, but each and every day to treat patients at
our 200 partner hospitals.”
Lisa Rivera, Member Assistance Program Coordinator/ Community Services Liaison for Local 338, who helped coordinate the drive said, “It’s wonderful to see so many people willing to help. The Blood Center of New York is a terrific organization that provides a great service to our city. These volunteers are literally giving the gift of life.”
Local 338 RWDSU/ UFCW represents more than 18,000 supermarket, retail pharmacy, dairy and healthcare workers in New York. It is an affiliate of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and the 1.4 million member United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call toll free 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org