Interfaith blood drive a first in Pittsburgh

Interfaith blood drive a first in Pittsburgh

Jews and non-Jews will join in a first-time interfaith blood drive on Sunday, June 13, 2 p.m., to support the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh.
The drive, which will take place in the East Club Lounge of Heinz Field, will feature special guest speakers, live music, events and activities for children, a food drive sponsored by the Community Food Bank.
“Central Blood Bank has never participated or hosted an event like this in the past,” Lisa Cassidy, a spokeswoman for the the blood bank, said in response to a written question from The Chronicle. “All of our partners joining in this event have never participated or helped produce a similar event.  Whereas many faiths may have united together for other causes, this is the first time in western Pennsylvania they united for this specific cause of donating blood.” 
Specifically, the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinical Association, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Community Centers of Greater Pittsburgh, the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania as well as the area Hindus and Muslims are participating.
Annually, more than 200,000 units of blood are demanded by area hospitals for local patients in their care and only 155,000 of those units are donated from local residents, according to the blood bank.
As a result, said Steve Hecht, executive director of the Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, which took an active role in arranging the project, the blood bank purchases tens of thousands of pints of blood from outside the region.
According to Hecht, when he asked Mark Giaquinto, chief financial officer of the Central Blood Bank “how he felt about me trying to put together an interfaith blood drive for the city. He responded, ‘How fast do you think you make it happen?’ ”