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San Diego Blood Bank hosting Holiday Bowl blood drive

Perks available for San Diego blood donors during Memorial Day weekend
Posted at 2:31 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 16:39:44-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego Blood Bank is hosting a Holiday Bowl blood drive during a time of year when donations are typically low.

The drive will be held Thursday, November 21 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the SDCCU Stadium parking lot, sections A and B.

Donors are encouraged to make an appointment ahead of time, but walk-ins are also welcome. The blood bank says they hope to get several hundred people to donate, because the winter is always a slow time.

"People get busy, they go on vacation, and blood donation kind of falls off as a top priority," says Blood Bank CEO David Wellis. "The need for blood, though, doesn't decline.

The blood bank likes to have a 4-7 day supply on hand. Right now, Wellis says they have about 2 days. They hope Thursday's drive will bring the supply back up.

RELATED: With Chargers gone, San Diego Blood Bank plans a more inclusive holiday blood drive

This year, donors will receive a pair of tickets to the Holiday Bowl on December 27. The decision to pair with the football game ties the holiday-season blood drive back to football.

For years, the blood bank and the Chargers teamed up for the event. But when the Chargers left San Diego after 2016, they took the blood drive with them.

In 2017, the blood bank tried a sports-themed event called "San Diego Cares" to get donations. 700 people gave blood that day.

By contrast, the Chargers Blood Drive would get anywhere from 800-2,000 donors.

The blood bank hopes offering free Holiday Bowl tickets will help build this event to the same level of success.

"I think, over time, it will," says Willis. "We've done Comic-Con for 43 years. That started off small and it's giant now. And in the summer we have the annual Padres blood drive that's growing quite nicely."

Games and giveaways will also be set up throughout the day.

To be eligible to donate blood, participants must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 114 pounds. Donors must also be in general good health. While the blood bank had asked people to sign up for a specific time, they say anyone is welcome to drive in and donate without an appointment.

RELATED: San Diego man celebrates 50 years of donations to San Diego Blood Bank