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‘Our shelves are empty’: CSRA blood banks face more shortages

Published: Jan. 10, 2021 at 11:36 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In a plea on social media, Shepeard Community Blood Center said it is dangerously low on blood donations. It’s something the staff says is a nationwide problem, with fewer people feeling comfortable to go out and donate during the pandemic.

“We’re seeing less donors come in through the door, we’re having a lot of drives that are canceled,” said Ashley Whitaker, a spokesperson for the blood bank.

Posts to social media are what inspired the Foster family to host a blood drive. They say they thought the posts were a sign of what they needed to step up to do.

“This year due to the tremendous need expressed by Shepeard’s Blood, we decided to do a blood drive,” said Christopher Foster, an organizer.

But it wasn’t an ordinary day or ordinary blood drive for the Fosters. Sunday marked the three year anniversary of when their 17-year-old daughter, Shay, passed in a car crash

“The community has really saved our lives, and so for us to be able to donate blood and to be able to save other people’s lives is something ... we feel we need to step up to do,” said her mother and drive organizer Chasity Foster.

Chasity and Christopher Foster said their daughter’s impact was enormous. She was known to befriend kids at school who typically sat by themselves. They say when it came time for her service, they couldn’t have it where they originally planned because so many people were set to attend.

These were the shelves Friday morning at Shepeard Community Blood Center.
These were the shelves Friday morning at Shepeard Community Blood Center.(WRDW)

“Everyone just gravitated towards her because she made sure they knew that they were loved and they were an important part of her life,” said her mom.

The blood drive in honor of Shay was put on through a collection bus parked in a church parking lot. Family said they hope it embodied the same spirit of kindness, giving, and community Shay had. They also hoped it was a way to say thank you to the community for standing by them since their daughter’s passing.

“This has been just the most difficult journey that we have faced these last three years. And without the love and support of the community, we would not still be able to stand,” said Chasity Foster.

The Fosters also have a variety of other outreach programs in honor of their daughter. Through their organization Smile for Shay, they collect socks, books, and food for people in need. You can find more details on how to help here and here.

The Shepeard Community Blood Center says their posts on social media have garnered some more donations, but they are still very much in need. You can find more information on how to help here.

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