Kansas pork farmers are hoping to make an even bigger impact on communities around the state this year though a partnership supporting American Red Cross Blood Drives that has already collected enough blood to help up to 11,000 patients since 2012.

Oct. 8, donors participating in the Independence Community Blood Drive at the Civic Center, 410 N. Penn will receive special thanks from farmers during the Kansas Pork Association’s 2015 Be Inspired to Make a Difference community program. The KPA program provides support to the Red Cross and other organizations that are making a difference by working to build stronger communities and a stronger Kansas. The goal in Independence is to collect 75 pints of blood. Because each pint could help save up to three lives, up to 225 patients could benefit. The drive will take place on Oct. 8 from 11:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Blood donors will be greeted by Kansas pork farmers serving free pulled pork sandwiches and giving away pig-shaped stress relievers. A free drawing will be held for two grocery gift cards valued at $25 each, courtesy of the KPA.

“I don’t think we can do enough to thank these great people who donate their blood to help our community have a safe and reliable blood supply,” said Michael Springer with Springer Family Foods in Neodesha, Kan. Michael and his wife, Christy, will be on hand to thank blood donors. “They are real heroes because they help save so many lives. We’re happy to provide healthy food for these donors who are a shining example for all of us.”

Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed.

“The need for blood is constant,” said Jan Hale, American Red Cross Central Plains Region communications manager. “Right now all blood types are needed – especially types O negative, A negative and B negative – to help prevent an emergency shortage. These drives will help ensure blood products are readily available for patients. We are thankful to have partners like the KPA.”

There are 1,000 pork farmers in Kansas. In 2014, they produced more than 500 million pounds of pork, while providing more than $574 million in income to Kansas communities. Learn more about Kansas Pork Farmers at eatpork.org.

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How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Kansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

American Red Cross and Kansas pork farmers partner for Independence blood drive