BEAR, Del. – When the second annual Dr. Charles R. Drew Memorial Blood Drive began at 9 a.m. Saturday, August 19, it appeared the Blood Bank of Delmarva had another “park and a prayer” on our hands with just 16 appointments on the books.

However, we closed the books at 1 o’clock in the afternoon with 26 donors thanks to a surge in the latter half of the four-hour blood drive. That gave us 29 total units of red cells collected for a drive that had a goal of 30 units, Director, Donor Resources Nicole Pineault said.

A big amount of credit goes to blood drive coordinator William Garrett, who worked with BBD Account Manager Mary Moore to create this blood drive. On Saturday, Bill called in reinforcements from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Gamma Mu Nu Foundation, and the ensuing rally was indicative of the resilience of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers.

Bill also credited the partnership with the Greater Newark Boys and Girls Club, the CBIV Legacy for Life Foundation and Big Ds Soul in Da Hole Catering for helping Gamm Mu Nu create a festive, inviting atmosphere for the community event.

“We brought together this coalition of community partners to help provide a much-needed service in our community, and that’s the collection of blood and dispersing of blood to people who need it in our community,” Bill said. “So, today we have a classic Corvette car show, a community cookout that includes food and music [and] a bouncy house.

“This is all just to ensure that the community has access to free entertainment and good fun while also serving a vital purpose, and that’s the collection of blood in Newark, Delaware and Middletown,” he said.

The inaugural Dr. Charles R. Drew Memorial Blood Drive and Community Health Fair brought in 36 donors last year, several of whom were from the African American community. This is a segment of the population BBD has not had a lot of luck with historically speaking, but we hope events like the Charles R. Drew Memorial Blood Drive will help us in that regard.

In 2022, 5% of BBD’s donors were African American, compared to African Americans being 22 percent of the State of Delaware’s population and 30 percent of Maryland’s population – per the 2020 U.S. Census.

Organizers named the event after Dr. Drew, a renown African American surgeon and researcher, who was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was a pioneer of blood transfusion research and the storage of blood plasma during World War II. His groundbreaking work led to the development of modern blood banking in the U.S.

Blood drive coordinator William “Bill” Garrett hopes this becomes an annual tradition for years to come. “It’s an opportunity to educate our community on the importance of donating blood and the importance of healthcare overall,” Garrett said. “Our entire platform is service.”

Mr. Garrett can be reached at [email protected]. He is working with Blood Bank of Delmarva Account Manager Mary Moore and Director, Donor Resources Nicole Pineault to bring in more than 30 lifesaving donors once again at this year’s draw.

“We value our partnership with Omega Psi Phi and we commend the fraternity’s outreach to the local community,” Nicole Pineault said. “Every donation counts.”

This year’s blood drive is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, August 19 at the Greater Newark Boys and Girls Club. Click here to sign up or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.