On July 2nd, 2022, New Heaven New Earth Church of Jesus (NHNE) hosted a blood drive with Versiti Blood Center, an event that marked Versiti Illinois Center’s largest July 4th holiday blood drive in 11 years, producing 4-5 times an average drive.
Skokie, Illinois Jul 4, 2022 (Issuewire.com) – New Heaven New Earth Church of Jesus in the Midwest (NHNE), with Versiti Blood Center, hosted a blood drive at Oliver McCracken Middle School to address the national blood shortage ahead of the high demand that comes with Independence Day celebrations. With more than 150 people from all over Illinois and the surrounding Midwest states in attendance, New Heaven New Earth Church’s Midwest Branch was inspired by the outstanding efforts made by their counterpart Shincheonji Church in South Korea, that in just 2 weeks coordinated blood donations from over 18,500 members to increase the national reserve.
Versiti Blood Center of Illinois serves 63 hospitals in a 12-county area in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and collects more than 155,000 units of blood annually. Versiti Blood Center serves the Midwest across Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. In the United States of the 35 percent of people who are eligible, only 10 percent donate blood. Emily Alanis, the Donor Recruitment Manager for Versiti Blood Center of Illinois shared that with high schools and colleges, who make up about 30 percent of the average collection in a year, on break during the summer months, it becomes more difficult to make up the difference.
NHNE Church’s blood drive collected more than 100 units of blood during this July 4th weekend, which exceeds Versiti’s record blood drive since Alanis has been involved with the company. She remarked, “I have been involved with blood drives for 11 years, and this is the largest Fourth of July blood drive I’ve seen! Our average blood drive always surprises people – it’s between 19 and 20 units. And so today, if we walk away with 100 to 120 units, it’s 5 to 6 times our normal blood drive.”
The blood drive brought in both the young and young at heart, with a first-time 68-year-old donor very excited for the ability to donate, saying “I’m very grateful to God for this honor. I’m 68 and today is an epical day because my blood passed and it can go to 3 people. I’m so blessed.” Not only did members of NHNE Church donate, but also members of the community appreciated that the blood drive was held in their own neighborhood. Additionally, repeat donors from the community found the blood drive on social media and came in for the importance of giving to the community and feeling good about it.
Around 2 pm, there was an appreciation ceremony, where a special certificate of appreciation was presented for Mr. Man Hee Lee, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony by Brian Bautista, the Chief Operations Officer of Versiti Blood Center. The certificate reads as follows, “This is commended for your dedication and compassion to serve. Thank you for supporting our blood supply at this critical time. Versiti Blood Center appreciates you and all of your volunteers for making a life-saving difference for patients in need. Through your efforts, you have helped impact countless lives and are a beacon of hope for the community.”
At the time of the ceremony, Bautista stated “on behalf of all of the patients and the families of those patients that we serve right here in your own community, I’d like to present this award to Mr. Man Hee Lee, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.” Shincheonji Church in Korea inspired many to go out and donate after completing an epical that recorded over 18,500 members of its church from all over the nation to donate. Afterward, one of the donors expressed their gratitude, saying, “Thank you so much to Shincheonji, to Chairman Man Hee Lee, for urging us to come and give this blood to the people.”
The blood that was collected during this unprecedented July 4th weekend blood drive in the Chicago area will be saving up to 300 or more lives, with each donor able to save 3 or more lives depending on whether they donated whole blood or double red units.
New Heaven New Earth Church worked to invite donors from their local communities, and Bautista affirmed that these communities benefited from the donations made — “There are many patients right here in our community – and that’s what we take a lot of pride in. Just like all of you, Versiti is based in the Midwest and we serve the hospitals here. Those patients, that are your neighbors, your family, your loved ones, that are right here in need of blood, those are the people that you’re helping.”
The uniqueness of blood means that it cannot be made synthetically, and hospitals can only receive blood from voluntary donors – meaning the decision to donate blood is truly a selfless act of life-giving.
Interested donors who were not able to attend the July 2nd drive can still participate by registering to donate at any of Versiti Blood Center’s donation centers in the Midwest (https://www.versiti.org/ways-to-give/blood-donation/locations) by including the sponsor code “NHNE” when registering. For more information, email [email protected].