Kansas pork farmers are hoping to make an even bigger impact on communities around the state this year though a partnership supporting American Red Cross Blood Drives

Kansas pork farmers are hoping to make an even bigger impact on communities around the state this year though a partnership supporting American Red Cross Blood Drives that has already collected enough blood to help up to 11,000 patients since 2012.

On July 20, donors participating in the Great Bend Community Blood Drive at St. Rose Auditorium, 1412 Baker St. will receive special thanks from farmers during the Kansas Pork Association’s 2015 Be Inspired to Make a Difference community program. The KPA program provides support to the Red Cross and other organizations that are making a difference by working to build stronger communities and a stronger Kansas. The goal in Great Bend is to collect 145 pints of blood. Because each pint could help save up to three lives, up to 435 patients could benefit.

Local emergency services are also helping out during the blood drive with their Battle of the Badges contest. Members of the Great Bend Fire Department, Great Bend Police Department, and Barton County Sheriff’s Office are holding a friendly competition to see who can bring in the most blood donations for the American Red Cross.

Blood donors will be greeted by Kansas pork farmers serving free pulled pork sandwiches and giving away pig-shaped stress relievers. A free drawing will also be held for two grocery gift cards valued at $25 each, courtesy of the KPA. The drive will take place on July 20 from 11:15 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

“I don’t think we can do enough to thank these great people who donate their blood to help our community have a safe and reliable blood supply,” said Kelly Wondra with WF Pork in Ellinwood, who will be on hand to thank blood donors. “They are real heroes because they help save so many lives. We’re happy to provide healthy food for these donors who are a shining example for all of us.”

During the summer months, blood donations often decline when schools are out of session and regular donors are on vacation.

“The need for blood is constant,” said Tricia Quinn, American Red Cross Central Plains Region CEO. “While blood donations tend to decrease in the summer months, these drives will help ensure blood products are readily available for patients. We are thankful to have partners like the KPA, and the Great Bend and Barton County emergency services personnel.”

There are 1,000 pork farmers in Kansas. In 2014, they produced more than 500 million pounds of pork, while providing more than $574 million in income to Kansas communities. Learn more about Kansas Pork Farmers at eatpork.org.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Kansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.