It’s not every day that we do something that has lifesaving impact, but a blood donation may give someone a second chance at life.

And it’s not that common for two organizations to combine a Blood Drive and a Job Fair into one event, but that’s exactly what the American Red Cross and Gándara Center are doing on Tuesday, December 11, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Gándara’s offices at 80 Commercial Street in Holyoke. You can donate blood to help your community—and also learn about career opportunities at Gándara Center, which provides residential, mental health, substance use, and preventative services to Hispanics, African Americans, and other culturally diverse populations.

Blood Drive

Every two seconds someone in America needs blood, but each year fewer and fewer people are donating. In fact, the nation has been facing a critical blood shortage since this past summer because of a rise in demand—much of it due to the increased number of complex therapies such as chemotherapy, heart surgeries, and organ transplants, which require large amounts of blood products, including platelets and plasma, according to the American Red Cross.

The blood type in highest demand is type O (positive or negative), which is most frequently requested by hospitals to treat a range of patients from trauma victims to premature babies. About 45% of people in the U.S. have type O blood. But the percentage is higher among Hispanics (57%) and African Americans (51%).

Adding to the shortage is the fact that minorities donate blood at substantially lower rates than whites, which is especially unfortunate because blood donated by Hispanics and African Americans may even carry a rare variant that can save the lives of others with that same variant.

Simply put, if you are Hispanic and you give blood, you could potentially save the life of a friend, relative, or acquaintance in the Hispanic community. Likewise, African American recipients of blood transfusion, such as sickle cell disease patients—along with general hospitalized patients—have a better chance of receiving phenotype-matched red blood cell units when there is a significant percent of blood products in inventory from African American donors, according to a study by the National Blood Foundation and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Those interested in giving blood on December 11 can make an appointment ahead of time to avoid waiting by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by clicking here.

Job Fair

Are you looking for a rewarding job that makes a difference in the lives of others? Gándara Center is hiring, especially in response to the opioid crisis and the increased need for substance use and mental health treatments. New open positions include Bilingual Clinician (Master’s Level), Peer Mentor, Addiction Recovery / Residential Counselor, Community Health Worker, Direct Care Professional / Adult Residential Care, Juvenile Correctional Counselor, Medical Assistant, Part-time Marketing and Development Assistant, Residential Counselor / Youth Residential Care, and Therapeutic Mentor.

Comprehensive benefits to full-time employees include competitive health and dental insurance, paid vacations, 11 paid holidays, 8 discretionary days, 403(b) retirement plan, free life insurance, and free long/short-term disability.

Gándara Center serves more than 11,000 children, adults, and families from all backgrounds every year at more than 45 locations across Massachusetts. Our agency, with more than 800 employees, provides a progressive, team-based environment with many other exciting job opportunities as well. If you are ready to work in an environment where caring is a way of life, you might just be the kind of person Gándara Center is looking for.

For more information, contact Lisa Brecher at lbrecher@gandaracenter.org or 413-296-6214.