The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in Choteau Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

In the past few months, there has been great need for blood at the emergency level for all blood types. Now with the disasters of the hurricane hitting the eastern part of the United States, the need for life saving blood is still great, said local blood drive coordinator Marilee Stott.

Every two seconds in the United States, someone needs blood. Every 27 minutes in the Montana service area, someone needs blood. The American Red Cross strives to collect more than 700 pints of blood in the Montana area each week to meet patients’ needs. The Red Cross supplies blood to more than 30 area hospitals. The need for blood can come at some of the most unexpected times in one’s life.

Having the blood ready and available at the time of need is critical for the patient, Stott said. “At this time with the great need for blood in the United States, prepare now to share the gift of life at the blood drive,” she added.

To make an appointment, call the American Red Cross at 868-0911 or visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: Choteau.

High school students age 16 and up can share the gift of blood with a signed parental consent form. These forms will be available at the registration table on the day of the drive. Parents of a youth donor may come to the drive and sign the form any time to have it ready and waiting for when the donor arrives.

Making appointments to attend the drive will ensure your place at the drive, but walk-ins are welcomed and will be worked into the drive in a timely fashion. Making an appointment will save you time at the drive, as well as the use of Rapidpass.

Rapidpass will start the donation process before leaving your home. Complete an online pre-donation and health history questionnaire at your convenience on the day of your appointment. Donors can save up to 15 minutes by completing this process, but this process must be done on the day of the drive only.

In preparing to donate blood, keep your body well hydrated and eat healthy, iron-rich meals. Avoid fatty foods such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating.

“Families and friends are always grateful the blood was there when their loved one was in need,” Stott said. “Mark your calendar to attend the Choteau Red Cross blood drive and be on the team to save lives.”