The South Carolina megachurch NewSpring Church is hosting blood drives at its campuses across the state through a partnership with a local nonprofit that has issued an urgent call for blood donations amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The church is now partnering with The Blood Connection to convert its campuses into temporary donation centers that will allow donors to maintain a safe distance from other donors during the blood donation process.
In a Facebook post published Wednesday, NewSpring told its congregants that donating blood is “one way to help hospitals and serve those in need.”
“Blood donations provide hospital patients with essential treatments and transfusions,” the church’s post explains. “Your donation could be life-saving for many patients during this pandemic. So starting this week, NewSpring will host blood drives at campuses across the state.”
The Blood Connection, a South Carolina-based nonprofit, is an independent community blood center that provides blood products to more than 70 hospitals serving hundreds of thousands of patients across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
NewSpring was founded by Perry Noble, its former pastor, over 20 years ago and now consists of 14 campuses lead by a team of lead pastors.
The partnership between the church and nonprofit comes as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an urgent call last month for Americans to donate blood. Due to stay-at-home orders nationwide, thousands of blood drives across the U.S. have been canceled in recent weeks.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are not known to be transmitted through blood transfusion and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.
Blood drives at NewSpring began on Thursday at the church’s main campus in Anderson.
Other blood drives were held at NewSpring’s campuses in Powerdersville and Clemson on Friday, while two more are scheduled to take place on at NewSpring Spartanburg and NewSpring Greenwood on Saturday.
On April 30, NewSpring campuses in Aiken and Charleston will host blood drives, while campuses in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Rock Hill will host blood drives on May 1.
On May 2, the drives will be held at NewSpring campuses in Florence and Greenville.
Most of the NewSpring blood drives run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while some run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A schedule of the blood drives can be found here.
To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health while not taking any antibiotics.
“Although it may feel like there isn’t much that people can do to fight COVID-19, donating blood is one way to help hospitals and serve those in need locally,” a statement from NewSpring Church sent to media outlets reads. “Blood donations provide patients with essential treatments, surgeries, and transfusions. Because The Blood Connection supplies blood products for local hospitals, donors are making a positive, community impact.”
People in other parts of the United States looking to donate blood can find a local blood drive through The Red Cross, which is also seeking plasma donations for researchers studying whether antibodies from COVID-19 survivors can be used to treat patients.
The Red Cross has enacted new measures like the spacing of beds and social distancing practices at donation centers to ensure safety to donors and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.