A Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Cheonghak-ri, a village in South Korea’s Gyeonggi region, held a blood drive to help replenish stock diminished by the coronavirus pandemic.
On a recent Sabbath morning, a blood donation bus from the Korean Red Cross arrived at the parking lot of the Cheonghak Seventh-day Adventist Church, after a deacon, Seong KiYeol, organized the effort.
Seong, a nurse at a Seoul hospital, had asked a blood supplier to deliver blood to the facility and was told he’d need to wait a week. “I had heard the news that blood shortage has been severe due to COVID-19, but I hadn’t realized how bad things had gotten until it happened to my patient,” said Seong. He thought he should make people around him know the situation, so he suggested to the church he attends they should hold a blood drive. Although many churches in other nations regularly host such drives, this is not a common practice in Korea.
To promote the blood drive, Seong posted on the online local community a week ahead.
“Once we received positive responses from the online community, it beecame easier to attract people on the day of the event,” he recalled.
It was also essential that members of the Cheonghak Church actively participate in the drive. The congregation’s previous charitable efforts—volunteer service, charity sales, and street cleanups—fostered positive attitudes among the congregation’s neighbors.
“When the Cheonghak Church suggested blood donation, local people were pleased to participate without any prejudice of religion or church denomination. Rather, the church gained a good reputation from the people,” said Mr. Seong.
The blood drive was held efficiently. Volunteers from the Cheonghak Church sent applicants a pre-screening questionnaire in advance primarily to make sure they met the eligibility requirements to donate blood. Furthermore, to avoid any possible exposure to the coronavirus due to gathering, the church divided applicants into groups and let them visit at the appointed time only and tried best to minimize contact with others. While waiting in line in front of the bus, they were wearing a mask, kept enough distance, and took a body temperature check.