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Red Cross holding blood drive to help Hurricane Matthew victims

File photo

The Buffalo chapter of the American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive Wednesday to benefit the victims of Hurricane Matthew. Red Cross regional spokesman Jay Bonafede says only about five percent of the eligible population give blood on a regular basis. He says donors can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, which lets you fill out some health information before going to donate. The app also allows donors to see where their donations went and how they helped.

Bonafede says he is hoping for a big turnout for the drive.

“If you’ve never given blood before, it’s a relatively painless process. It shouldn’t take more than an hour, including that health history," he said. "The real ‘thank you’ is the knowledge that every blood donation can save up to three lives."

Bonafede says the number of local volunteers for the hurricane relief effort has increased over the past week.

“Right now, as of [Monday], we had over 30 volunteers from our larger Western and Central New York region that are currently a part of the Hurricane Matthew response. From here in the Western New York chapter, we have about nine that are down there somewhere or on their way. We have our emergency response vehicle that’s housed in Niagara Falls [that] is traveling [and] being driven by a couple of volunteers down to South Carolina to help out,” Bonafede told WBFO.

The blood drive is being held Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Red Cross headquarters at 786 Delaware Avenue. Bonafede says the Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers. Anyone who is interested can go to the Red Cross website for more information.