Congregation Machzikei Hadas held its second annual Rabbi Bulka Blood Drive at Canadian Blood Services (CBS) on August 23 and 24.
The event honours Rabbi Reuven Bulka, the congregation’s rabbi emeritus, who has himself donated blood hundreds of times and is a leading advocate in Ottawa for blood and organ donations.
“We’ve doubled the number of attendees from Machzikei this year,” said Rabbi Idan Scher, the spiritual leader of Machzikei Hadas, as he donated blood.
Rabbi Bulka, who was on hand for the event, said many of the people who came to donate blood this year had never donated before.
“It’s always a challenge to collect enough blood,” Rabbi Bulka said, noting that the shelf-life of donated blood is only 30 days and that “only 3.7 per cent of eligible Canadians donate.”
“Donating blood is so easy to do,” Rabbi Bulka said, “it only takes one hour and it’s such a big tzedakah.”
Rabbi Bulka said Machzikei Hadas organizes the blood drive in August and another in December because the donations rate at CBS is lowest at those times, while the need for donated blood does not decrease.
“Nobody wants to be in a situation where there is no blood when they need it,” he said.
Ariel Aarenau, who organized the blood drive for Machzikei Hadas, said the daily collection goal at CBS was 114 per cent on the first day of the drive and 112 per cent on the second and noted that each donation saves up to three lives.
Machzikei Hadas has been a CBS Partners for Life since 2007. This program encourages individuals within organizations to commit to donating blood and platelets on a regular basis.
Glen Crowe of CBS said potential donors should visit the CBS website at www.blood.ca which has all the information one needs in order to donate blood. You can also schedule appointments to donate on the site or by calling 1-800-236-6283.