GREENVILLE, Ohio – It was certainly looking a lot like Christmas at the Darke County Lions Club 21st annual “Teddy Bear and Friends” Blood Drive Tuesday, Dec. 13. Fluffy snow blanketed the Church of the Brethren like the North Pole while Lions volunteers filled Santa-size packs with stuffed animals for young children who will be spending the holidays at Wayne HealthCare.
Members of the Arcanum, Gettysburg, Greenville, and Pitsburg Lions Clubs sponsored the blood drive and raised funds to purchase Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals for the annual Teddy Bear Project. The goal is to boost the holiday spirits of young hospital patients and to boost the holiday blood supply by volunteering at the blood drive.
The four Lions Clubs donated $440 to the Teddy Bear Project, while the blood drive registered 114 donors and collected 95 whole blood donations, plus 10 platelet and plasma donations for 95 percent of the collection goal.
Donors at Tuesday’s blood drive picked out their favorite stuffed animals and wrote messages on special gift tags for the children or senior patients who will receive the toys.
“It’s really sad when people have to be in the hospital,” said Pitsburg Lions Club volunteer David Kepler. “They need a little enjoyment, and their faces will light up when they see these stuffed animals I’m sure.”
CBC Darke County Account Representative Dana Puterbaugh delivered the stuffed animals to Wayne HealthCare on Wednesday morning. “This year I was able to purchase 206 stuffed animals,” Dana said. “I think we did pretty well!”
Pitsburg Lions President Chad Booher gave credit to Dana. “She’s awesome,” said Chad. “It’s amazing what she does. “A lot of our members are involved in the blood drive, so not only do we help monetarily, we also help by giving our blood.”
“It’s what we are as Lions,” said Arcanum Lions Club volunteer Bill Campbell. “We’re here to serve and we’re doing this to help out.”
Donors like Carlos Benavidez from Union City appreciated the Lions’ dedication to serving the community and helping children. Carlos made his second lifetime donation at Tuesday’s blood drive, and expected to be joined by his daughter Victoria.
“This is my second one!” he said. “My daughter got me into this. She started donating when she was in high school at Mississinawa Valley. It’s something we could do together.”