By Christopher McCollum
Tacoma, Washington based Cascade Regional Blood Services has implemented an innovative and popular plan for boosting blood donations from adult crowds in the region; Several local pubs are working with Cascade and offering a pint-for-pint program, in which blood donors will receive a ticket for a free pint of beer in exchange for a donated pint of blood drawn at that location. The plan, which has been picking up steam over the past 16 months, has been a resounding success, and the current spread of six bars that the blood-mobile visits will soon be expanded to eight, and presumably more in the future.
Surprisingly to some people, the plan has not invoked the criticism of alcohol-awareness groups, and even the teetotaling Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization has given it their cautious blessing, as long as Cascade and the bars involved abide by State laws, and confirm that blood donors being given the beer are of proper legal drinking age. Additional requirements set forth by the people involved make it a day-of ticket that donors receive, meaning that they must cash them in for their free pint in the same working day, but only after six hours have passed, presumably to give them time to get their blood level back up so the alcohol does not have quite as strong an affect.
Cascade and the bars they work with have a payment plan in place, in which Cascade pays the bar for each beer that is given away to blood donors, nipping in the bud any potential legal snafu that could result from completely free beer. Blood Centers have been using this technique to ramp up the popularity of blood drives for several years now, but Cascade appears to be taking it to a new level, and one could imagine that their success will inspire other Centers to do something similar. Perhaps Portland, Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina will be next. The Beer Cities, USA have been garnering much attention, and maybe it’s high time that some real positive action be a result of the increasing popularity in the breweries that inhabit these cities.
Across the United States, 38,000 blood donations are needed every day to save lives, and there are constant shortages in many locations. With a Portland Metro population of 2.1 million people, and Asheville Metro population of 408,000, we can probably safely assume that at least half of these populations meet the requirements given by Blood Book. Just imagine what good could come if people are given a beer incentive to donate blood in these two cities. Remember, the breweries would likely not be the same or as plentiful if there wasn’t strong local demand for it. Perhaps this is an… untapped demographic for Blood Centers, and hopefully we can see some Tacoma-inspired activity in the near future.
Cheers, my friends!