Rutland’s popular Gift of Life Blood drive kicked off its new 12-day format today at Castleton State College. Ryan Schmoldt, a donor recruitment manager for the Red Cross, says holding multiple drives will be easier to manage and ensure a steadier supply of blood.
"We lose 20 percent of our donor base, specifically the high school kids and college students who go on break," says Schmoldt. "We rely on their blood, so when they go on break, we really need to find corporate sponsors like this to keep our blood supplies safe and plentiful."
Dave Wolk, president of Castleton State College, opened his home for the first of a dozen blood drives to be held across Rutland County this month. “It made sense to start here because we’re a sponsor of the Gift of Life Marathon," he says. "A lot of our students are engaged; we’ve got 100 signed up already we’ll have a lot of walk-ins today."
Wolk joked that he'd never had people donate blood in his home before, but said it will likely not be the last time. "This is the college’s house and I have students and faculty here all the time, so to see all the life and the giving of life it’s really heartwarming. I mean, it’s what this holiday season is all about.”
Organizers hope to collect between 1,500 and 1,700 pints between now and the last drive on Dec. 16 at the Paramount Theatre.