The American Red Cross will be in Choteau for a community blood drive on Thursday, March 11, from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the Choteau Pavilion.

Because of all the chaos in the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the severe winter storms, there is now an urgent need for blood. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross Staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill do not come to the blood drive and postpone their donation.

The highest standards of safety and infection control and additional precautions will be followed at the drive, including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff. These procedures are in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

To ensure one’s place at the drive, each blood donor is asked to schedule appointments in advance. To make an appointment, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org. Walk-in donors are welcomed at the drive, but must be prepared to wait, or return to the drive for an open appointment time. All blood donors with appointments on the schedule will have their place at the drive guaranteed.

Donors can start their donation process before leaving home by completing an online pre-donation and health history questionnaire from their mobile device or Blood Donor App on the day of your appointment by accessing RAPIDPASS at redcrosssblood.org/Rapid Pass. By doing this process you can save up to 15 minutes at the drive. Remember that this process may be done only the day the blood drive.

Student donors can also be included to share the gift of blood at the drive. Students are encouraged to make appointments and to bring a parent or legal guardian who can sign a consent form so that they can donate blood. The consent forms will be available to sign at the registration table at the blood drive. Parents may come to the drive, in advance of the student’s appointments, to sign the consent form and have it waiting for their donor at the drive.

With the blood drive a week away, now is the time to focus on preparing to have the best possible experience donating blood. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, is key to keeping your body hydrated. Being very hydrated will help your blood donation be more successful in many ways. Eating meals and snacks high in protein is also key, along with getting plenty of rest to prepare your body well for your blood donation experience.

The gift of life by a blood donation has rescued many lives, and families have been spared the loss of loved ones. “Thank you Choteau for being on the team to save lives,” said Marilee Stott, organizer of the Choteau drive. “Together we are doing much good.”