Central Ohio residents are being asking to roll up their sleeves to "Bleed for the Band," a program of the American Red Cross.
For the third consecutive year, the Red Cross is offering a program that allows bands to earn dollars toward their needs by hosting drives to collect blood.
"Last year, we had 14 schools participate in the Bleed for the Band program in central Ohio," said Rodney J. Wilson, Red Cross communications manager.
"This year, we have 17 schools participating, with some of them holding more than one drive."
Wilson said the program has expanded to other school groups in addition to high school bands.
"So some of the blood drives this year at the schools are being coordinated by other student groups outside of the band, and the funds will go to those student groups that coordinate the drives," he said.
Wilson said blood donations are down, and that's a summer trend.
"Typically around July 4, the blood supply drops," he said. "The number of donations isn't sufficient to meet hospital needs. We're trying to get more people to give blood. Schools are out of session, and 20 percent of donations come from educational institutions. We try to have more blood drives at other locations during the summer."
Wilson said the Red Cross has a special need for O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood types.
The Gahanna Lincoln High School Golden Lions invite the community to support the high school band by making a blood donation from 1-7 p.m. Monday, July 21, in the band room, 140 S. Hamilton Road, at the southeast corner of the main building. Blood donors should enter Door 24 by the tennis courts.
Gahanna band director Rob Cebriak said Bleed for the Band raised $500 last summer by collecting 30 to 50 units of blood. The money was used for concert and marching band music.
"It will go towards the same this year," Cebriak said. "Costs never go down."
Anyone who wants to donate blood should make an appointment by going online to redcrossblood.org and entering sponsor code GahannaBands or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Should the goal of 36 or more donors be reached, the Gahanna Band Department will receive $400 toward new music for this year from Stanton's Sheet Music.
Incentives for individual donors in Gahanna include an opportunity to win a buy-one-get-one free entry coupon to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a $10-off Cedar Point admission coupon, four Zoombezi Bay passes and free Marathon gas.
Wilson said the American Red Cross national office developed a standardized program, and that's why the donation amount is less than last year.
"Last summer and before, each local office had developed their own program," Wilson said. "We had all different amounts."
The Central Ohio Blood Services Region, covering 27 counties, is headquartered in Columbus.
The central Ohio region annually manufactures more than 1 million blood products in Columbus, making it one of the largest blood product manufacturers in the United States.
To find a nearby blood drive, contact the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED-CROSS.