Red Cross closing Macon blood donation center June 19

Anyone wanting to schedule a blood donation appointment at the American Red Cross donor center in Macon better hurry.

On June 19, the organization plans to close the donor center on Bloomfield Road near the Olive Garden restaurant.

A man in his late 50s, who has been donating 37 years, said he received an email announcing the closure.

“They shouldn’t close the place. We’ve got nowhere to go,” said the man, who declined to give his name as he likely left the donation center for the final time Monday afternoon. “I’m not going to stop. I’m still going to try to save some lives.”

Beginning June 20, platelet donors and other regular blood donors who use the center will have to travel to the Red Cross’ donation center in Columbus or find scheduled blood drives at other locations in the Macon area.

“The Red Cross, like the rest of the blood industry, is facing tough economic conditions,” Kristen Stancil, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said in a statement. “To achieve our mission to provide lifesaving blood products to hospital patients, it is critical that we efficiently manage our resources.”

No Red Cross interviews were being granted Monday morning, and it wasn’t clear how many employees could be affected by the closure.

The Central Georgia Chapter House on Holt Avenue is expected to continue disaster and training operations, although Macon is now under the Central Midwest region that is headquartered in LaGrange.

Besides Bibb County, other counties recently grouped with that chapter are Baldwin, Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Haralson, Heard, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, Putnam, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson and Wilkinson.

The rest of the midstate counties will be located in the American Red Cross of West Central Georgia chapter, headquartered in Columbus, with additional offices in Dublin, Warner Robins and Fort Benning.

Besides Houston County, other counties in that district are Bleckley, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dodge, Dooly, Harris, Laurens, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Peach, Pulaski, Quitman, Schley, Stewart, Talbot, Taylor, Treutlen and Webster.

“The American Red Cross has a strong presence in Central Georgia, providing blood products, emergency disaster response, health and safety training and other services that the community depends on,” Stancil’s statement read.

Local blood drives will still be conducted in the Macon area.

Those interested in donating can visit redcrossblood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment.

Stancil said the operational decisions did not come easily but will allow the organization to collect and supply blood with the most productive use of resources.

“The Red Cross mission has not changed and we remain committed to Central Georgia communities,” she said. “The Red Cross will continue to provide patients, hospitals and blood donors with the same high level of quality service they expect and deserve. Emergency disaster response, health and safety training and other services will continue.”

Information from The Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.