The Temple Theater Ballroom saw a steady stream of traffic as dozens filed in to donate the gift of life at the 25th annual Mash Bash Blood Drive. Held every year between Christmas and New Year's, it is a way to make sure the 66 hospitals served by United Blood Services in East Mississippi and West Alabama have a safe and readily available blood supply for the holiday season.
Beverly Clark, senior donor recruitment representative for United Blood Services, tells us, "During the holiday time, people get so busy with shopping, going out of town, that they forget about our patients. Our patient needs are 24/7. They never have a holiday, so having a drive like MASH Bash with hoping to collect over 200 units of blood today helps out significantly going into the first of the year."
Clark also tells us that 40 people were in line when they opened the doors at 10am Thursday morning. The Hall family have been to the last four or five and always make sure to bring as many family members as possible.
Candy Hall, who is a gold level donor for United Blood Services, says, "You know, it's a good thing. It's good, and like I said, we usually make a family event out of it. I'm here, my sister Martha's here, and my sister Rebecca is here with me. We usually bring 3, 4, 5 family members and just make it a family event."
One donor made this year's Mash Bash her first time to donor blood. She was brought in by her mother, and says the whole experience is better than she expected.
Bethany Bratu donated for the first time and explains, "It's not as bad as you think it is. It's really easy. Everybody's been polite and nice which makes it a really good experience. It makes it positive to come in here and have people that treat you really nice and are friendly and talk to you and tell you everything they're doing so you don't ever feel like you don't know what's going on."
If you missed the Mash Bash, you can still donate by contacting United Blood Services.