June 26, 2020

ENGLEWOOD, Ohio - JD's Old Fashioned Frozen Custard means summertime in Englewood, even in the summer of COVID-19. The promise of a free pint helped motivate 116 people to support the 15th annual "Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive" June 25 at Fairview Brethren in Christ Church.

Community Blood Center counts on the blood drive to help boost the blood supply during the challenging July 4th holiday period. Hospitals are also returning to higher usage as Ohio reopens from the COVID-19 shutdown.

JD's and neighbor Fairview Brethren have been co-hosting the blood drive to accommodate more donors. To keep better social distancing under this year's COVID-19 restrictions, the blood drive took place only at the church. JD's owner Cindy Gress continued the tradition of donating free-pint coupons for all registered donors.

"We started back because we know that during the summer, people are vacationing, especially over the Fourth of July," said Cindy. "There's a lot of things going on and the need for the blood supply was great."

The free pint worked like a charm again with the blood drive totaling 116 donors, including 88 whole blood donations and eight platelet donors.

Like many churches, Fairview Brethren has not returned to in-person Sunday services.  But they made extra space for the blood drive by moving the platelet donor beds next to the pews in the main church.

"We can do it every time, if it helps," said Rev. Mark Ballard, who made his 189th lifetime donation at Thursday's blood drive.   His church hosts six CBC blood drives per year.  They also hosted the Northmont community blood drives in the spring so they wouldn't be cancelled, and expanded capacity for the JD's blood drive. "That's what we're here for," said Rev. Ballard.

Darla Baldonado from West Milton donated at the JD's blood drives before becoming a regular platelet donor at Fairview Brethren. "The pint always goes to my mother!" said Darla. "I have never kept it. She enjoys it and it gives her something to be happy about."

Darla's mom lives in a retirement community, where heightened concerns about the coronavirus have been a cause of stress.  She said the frozen custard will help. "I get to help others and make my mother happy."

Englewood's Kacy Stiver is an essential worker at a health clinic who made her 14th lifetime donation, but her first at the "Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive." "I've never been able to get an appointment!" she said.

Molly Holt from Brookville and Cherie France from Englewood are Northmont elementary school teachers who came to the blood drive together. It was Molly's first time donating.  Cherie saw it as an opportunity to help someone in need.

"I have a friend whose son was diagnosed with leukemia in February," said Cherie. "They weren't allowing people to sit with him. She sent out a message asking to donate."

  "I signed us up together," said Molly. "We wanted to do something good for the community."