The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region held its second luncheon for their faith-based affiliate program at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South L.A. this past Wednesday to spread the word about the importance of diversity in blood collection.

The Faith Based Affiliate Program provides L.A. organizations that represent the rich diversity of Los Angeles – with organizations from Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and non-denominational beliefs – the opportunity to bring Red Cross resources to their communities. Wednesday’s luncheon focused on the need to collect blood in different communities and the role that the more than 30 faith and community leaders can play in diversifying their community’s blood supply.

“I tell people all the time that it is vital that the church and faith-based community have these kinds of partnerships,” said Dr. Michael J. Fisher, senior pastor of the Greater Zion Church Family. “To be able to host a blood drive and see the response was overwhelming.”

Dr. Fisher also announced that at least 15 pastors have committed to hosting similar events in 2020.

The event took place at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, named in honor of the brilliant African-American physician, famous for his pioneering work in blood preservation and director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank in 1941.

“It’s important symbolically, that the Red Cross is here today,” said guest speaker Sylvia Drew Ivie, J.D., special assistant to President of Charles Drew University and daughter of Charles R. Drew, citing her father’s work and the ongoing overlap between the institution’s focus on sickle cell anemia and the need to collect blood for patients undergoing treatment.

Dr. Medell Briggs, MPH, MSHS and board member for the American Red Cross of Santa Monica Bay, also spoke about her firsthand experience with donated blood. Time and time again, Dr Briggs recounted, we see victims who need many units of blood, often originating from various donors who had participated in local blood drives, underscoring the importance of each individual donor’s contribution in saving lives.

In addition to coordinating blood drives, the Faith Based Affiliate Program offers preparedness education, free or reduced-price adult first aid and CPR certification, as well as volunteer opportunities that bringing home fire safety and free smoke alarm installations to their community.

To learn more about the Faith Based Affiliate programs and services email [email protected].