UCSB students and Isla Vista residents will have the opportunity to receive free sundaes and save a life this week by participating in the United Blood Services blood drive hosted at Silvergreens.
The drive takes place today and tomorrow from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. outside of Silvergreens on Pardall Road, where a UBS van is stationed to receive donations. The UBS is a nonprofit organization responsible for supplying all the hospitals in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, King City and Salinas Valley with blood.
Every region of the country is in desperate need of blood donations, UBS spokeswoman Maryann Bittle said. Even when UBS is fully stocked with donations, Bittle said hospitals can never guarantee enough future blood supply for all patients, as demand can vary.
“We’re the sole supplier on the Central Coast,” Bittle said. “Blood supply nationwide is critical. We’ve had days when we’ve been concerned.”
Silvergreens Director of Business Development Brian Rocha said if a participant wants a specific appointment, they may sign up with a Silvergreens cashier beforehand, but that donors should feel free to show up anytime within the specified hours.
The whole process takes about 45 minutes. Participants will spend 15 minutes filling out a questionnaire, 15 minutes giving blood and about 15 minutes afterward getting refreshments and waiting for approval to leave.
In order to give blood, participants must be in good health, over the age of 17, weigh more than 110 pounds and provide photo identification. In addition, participants cannot have received a tattoo within the last year, cannot have traveled to a country with a malaria risk and must not have donated blood within the past two months.
If a donor can meet all of these requirements, the blood they give may save at least two lives.
Blood drives sponsored by local organizations and businesses in I.V. like Silvergreens are always especially successful, Bittle said.
This year marks the third time Silvergreens has hosted a blood drive. Rocha said because of its success in the past, the blood drive will last longer this year.
“This is our third time doing the blood drive, and the first time we are doing it two days in a row because of the number of people we had last year,” Rocha said.
At the blood drive, the restaurant will also offer a free ice cream sundae to everyone who participates. Rocha said he believes the blood drive is a great way to contribute to the health of Silvergreens’ customers and community members.
“We are very excited to be a part of the blood drive,” Rocha said. “It’s pretty awesome being able to give back to the community.”
UBS delivers 285 units of blood daily to all the hospitals on the Central Coast, Bittle said, and maintains contracts with the hospitals to ensure their blood supply levels.