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Lack of demand shuts Red Cross donation site on Sundays
Platelet donor Jewell Gowder is assisted by Tiffany Davis, left, and Angela Hayes at the American Red Cross office in Gainesville. The office currently is closed on Sunday, but is open the rest of the week. - photo by Tom Reed

American Red Cross blood and platelet drives

  • When: Noon-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
  • Where: 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville
  • Contact: 770-532-8453

The American Red Cross blood donation center in Gainesville now will be closed on Sundays.

But Linda Rounds, program coordinator for the organization’s Northeast Georgia centers, said metro-Atlanta locations will remain open on Sundays.

Rounds said the blood donation center on Jesse Jewell Parkway has closed its doors on Sundays but will remain open Monday through Saturday. She said the decision to close on Sundays was because of a lack of demand.

"Sundays are traditionally a day where many families like to spend time together," Rounds said. "It was always a bit of a struggle to have people coming in on Sunday for their donations. So it wasn’t really cost effective to have the staff prepared and ready to go and not seeing any donors."

Rounds said the American Red Cross aims to produce the most cost-effective blood products for patients, and keeping the Gainesville donation center open on Sundays to accommodate a few donors would drive up the cost of blood products.

She said the Red Cross relies solely on public financial donations, and the organization is trying to save money during the down economy. Rounds said the Gainesville center will re-evaluate its Sunday schedule in July when the Red Cross begins its next fiscal year.

She said while blood donations always are needed to support hospital demand, Sunday was an especially important day for platelet donations. Rounds said platelets are the cells in blood that control bleeding.

"They only survive three to five days, so we need a constant supply of fresh platelets available for patients. And Sunday is a very important day to collect platelets," she said. "Instead of being closed Sunday, we need it up and running."

Rounds said until the Gainesville center reopens on Sundays, donors can call 800-448-3543 to find a donation center near them that is open on Sundays. She also said the organization soon will begin contacting donors to educate them on the importance of Sunday collections.

"If donors are aware this is a particularly important day for us to keep the pipeline open for blood and platelets, we will get more of a response," she said. "I really do feel positive about that."