Humanist Community of Central Ohio: Two Years and Bleeding!
This month, members of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) will get together for our regular Bleed & Feed: a group blood donation service project followed by dinner. But this event is special – on September 15th, the group will be celebrating two years of regular blood donations. We anticipate reaching 80 units of blood donated over the last two years: that’s ten gallons of blood and dozens of lives saved!
The Bleed & Feed takes place every eight weeks – the minimum waiting period required between donations by the Red Cross. Participating members gather at the donor center for their appointments, cheer one another on, and then migrate to a nearby restaurant for a post-donation dinner.
The core Bleed & Feed group is about six HCCO members, with others joining in as their work and donation schedules allow. While we had around 3-5 units donated at our early events, the HCCO team now donates between 6-10 units each event between whole blood and apheresis donations. Part of the increase is from our members joining the cause; another reason is our informal competition between our group and the Seattle Atheists’ donor team.
The “Feed” is a critical part of the event. Everyone loves to have dinner with good company. We have members join us for the dinner who aren’t able to join us for the donation – and that’s great! We rotate our restaurant choices so that no one gets bored: we’ve had Mexican, Indonesian, Greek, tacos, steak, Italian and Chinese. Once we even went to a restaurant that specialized in bison! But we’re always careful to make sure there are vegetarian options wherever we go – we have more than a few vegetarians in our group, and we don’t want anyone to be left out.
Setting up an event like this is easy – especially if you use Meetup.com to help you organize. Since the default waiting period is 8 weeks, you can set a regularly recurring event and just update the details of what restaurant you’ll be going to afterward. It’s easy to direct your members to make appointments at the Red Cross website (www.redcrossblood.org), and most donor centers will take walk-ins, too. After a few events, the donor center staff gets to know you. It’s great helping them learn about our community and showing how we can be good without a religion.
We’re very excited with how the Bleed & Feed has blossomed over the last two years, and we’re looking forward to another great year that’s even better than the last two!