KISSIMMEE – One of the things that makes Annamae Lawson proud to live at the Good Samaritan Society-Kissimmee Village is that whenever Florida Blood Centers holds a blood drive there, her neighbors always turn out in solid numbers to donate.
“Last year, 19 pints of blood were collected,” she said. “I think that’s pretty good.”
Good Samaritan Society is sponsoring another blood drive this month, on Thursday, June 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Lawson is optimistic that this year, turnout will be even stronger.
“Periodically during the year, working with Florida’s blood centers, we sponsor blood drives here in our community center,” Lawson said. “We do have a very reliable group of people who donate every year. Some have given blood in the count of gallons. We have some regulars who come in the winter months, our snowbirds, and some of them we call ‘The Gallon people.’ Maybe they are called angels. After they donate, they get a pen or a mug and are recognized in some way.”
The reason Lawson thinks turnout will rise this year is because the blood centers are offering a very special incentive to anyone who donates. It’s a very practical, even economical, incentive being offered this year. At a time when gas prices remain above $3.50 a gallon, donors who go to the blood drive at the village at 4197 S. Orange Blossom Trail will be given a free gas card valued at $l0. With that gift being dangled before them, Good Samaritan Society is sending out a message to potential donors, urging them to “Please consider participating and help save a life. “
Lawson said she loved the idea of giving donors a gas card.
“The incentive is a $10 card for gas that can be used at a variety of gas stations,” she said. “It’s a very tempting offer. I think people could use this card. It’s a good choice right now.”
Ken Lyons, the sales and marketing director at Good Samaritan Society, said he was also impressed with this offer – a very smart choice at a time when gas prices remain stubbornly high, he said.
“I thought the same thing,” he said. “It’s not being offered by Good Samaritan, the blood drive people are offering it. They’re actually bringing in a big red bus for the blood drive.”
Lawson said the blood center has offered gift incentives to donors in previous years as well.
“In the past, we’ve been able to offer half price tickets to theme parks in the area like Universal Studios,” she said. “And they will probably get a t-shirt in addition to that.”
But a gas card, she said, is a great way to entice people to show up and donate.
“This one is perfectly timed,” she said. “We’re counting on that, and we’re hoping it will bring some more people in.”
Lawson also hopes they can attract a good crowd of donors on June 30 for another critical reason: the blood they donate helps save lives in emergency situations at area hospitals.
“After this blood drive has happened, the blood center will contact me and tell me how many units of blood they were able to draw and how many lives they were able to save,” she said.
“It definitely saves lives,” Lyons said.
The Good Samaritan Society-Kissimmee Village is a 435-acre gated golf course community for seniors and retirees. Residents can enjoy amenities that include indoor and outdoor pools and spas, tennis, scheduled bus service, a full-time activities director and access to a home health agency and continuum of care.
To learn more about the blood drive, call 407-933-2763 or log on to www.good-sam.com/kissimmee for details.
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