July 9, 2020

NEW LEBANON, Ohio - The village of New Lebanon borrowed from the familiar proverb "it takes a village" to help protect the slumping blood supply during the difficult summer of COVID-19.

Village government, business, and schools worked in unison to sponsor the July 6 New Lebanon community blood drive at Dixie Elementary School.  The July 4th holiday week had just ended, and CBC's blood supply was - and remains - dangerously low.  The blood drive totaled 70 donors, including 57 donations and 14 first time donors.

"This was a combination of many wonderful New Lebanon residents and friends working together to hold a new community blood drive," said CBC account representative Donna Teuscher.

The idea for a community blood drive began in village government with Starr Joy from the Parks & Rec Department. "Starr wanted to hold a blood drive and we decided to get things started in April," said Donna. "COVID-19 hit and we postponed."

A few weeks later, Lacy Aikman at Somerville Bank also asked about sponsoring a blood drive. "We decided to combine the two drives and invite the high school to host," said Donna.

Dixie High School blood drive coordinator Debi Teater spoke to New Lebanon Local Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Williams. The high school gym floor was undergoing repair, but Dr. Williams offered the Dixie Elementary School cafeteria.

NHS advisor and blood drive volunteer coordinator Lori Moses helped spread the word about the blood drive on social media.

"This is a very giving community," said Donna. "We hoped for 40 people but had 81 sign up."

"I teach at the middle school and my daughter went to Dixie High School," said donor Margie Loyacano who came to the blood drive with her daughter Lily Pedrotti. "I saw it on Facebook and told her about it."

"I usually would give when blood drives went to my high school," said Lilly. "I donated here and when they come to UD I donate there."

"I saw it on the New Lebanon Schools Facebook page and decided to do it," said donor Teresa Brinson. "I know when my daughter donated at Twin Valley South High School, she got call saying she had helped save three lives."

A mural on the back wall of the stage overlooking the cafeteria reads, "I Better My World and I Better Myself." Dennis Goecke sat at a table below the mural, drinking orange juice, and waiting for his wife Sharon to finish her donation.  He noted that the middle school cafeteria is usually converted into a summer daycare center, but not this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We usually go to Brookhaven," said Dennis, referring to the monthly blood drive in Brookville that has been forced to change locations twice this spring due to the coronavirus. "We've been hearing they've been needing blood. She went online and saw two slots open."

New Lebanon mom Jessica Saunders was one of the 14 first-time donors who joined the village-wide effort to make the blood drive successful.

"I got an email from the superintendent," said Jessica. "My daughter is going into third grade and I have one in pre-school. I have always wanted to and now I have the chance."