“For me, there’s many ways of giving back to the community,” said Sal Montelongo, a community member who donated blood at the City of Santa Clara’s Sept. 21 Blood Drive. “Donating blood is one of the easiest ways and it’s one of the most important ways of giving back.”
The event, held in partnership with the Blood Centers of the Pacific, took place inside the Council Chambers at Santa Clara City Hall.
“The City of Santa Clara has worked with the Blood Centers of the Pacific for a number of years,” said Ada Chang, who works for the City’s Human Resources Department and was the City’s coordinator for the Blood Drive. “We encourage City employees to participate. This is open to the public so community members can also come to donate blood.”
According to Chang, each donor gave about a pint of blood. In addition to the 36 booked appointments for blood donations, walk-in blood donors also dropped in.
“The blood stays primarily in the area and goes to hospitals in the area,” Chang said. “A representative from the Blood Centers of the Pacific has told me that donating blood saves lives, and that during the summer, there was a shortage of blood.”
Chang walked through the steps of what a blood donor can expect at a blood drive, such as the one held at Santa Clara City Hall.
“First, interested donors have to fill out an intake questionnaire,” Chang said. “After that, [a staff member from the blood center] looks over the questionnaire and they take the interested donor to a private area in the back to ask follow up questions. Then they check your ID. They check your blood pressure and, with a finger prick, they check your iron levels. The results of the iron levels come back immediately. If everything goes well, they’ll draw your blood. They’ll try to keep you warm while they’re drawing your blood.”
Chang added that after a donor’s blood was drawn and their arm was bandaged up, the donor had access to complimentary snacks and drinks so their body can replenish sugar levels and stay hydrated. At the City’s Blood Drive, a sign at the refreshment table from the Blood Centers of the Pacific reminded donors that “California State Regulations require that all donors remain onsite 15 minutes after donation.”
Chang had an appointment to donate blood in the late morning.
“I do it because I know I’m going to help someone in need,” she said. “I hope if I ever need blood, it would be available to me. I hope that if someone needs blood during dire times, they’ll be able to get it too.”