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Cheonghak Church in Korea Hosts Blood Drive
June 04, 2020

It was not common in Korea for a local church to host a blood drive. However, as blood shortage has continued because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Cheonghak Church in Gyeonggi, Korea, decided to make a bold move to urge local people to participate in blood donation. On the Sabbath of March 7, 2020, a blood donation bus from the Korean Red Cross arrived at the parking lot in the village of Cheonghak.

“The number of participants was more than I expected. It was surprising that people from this village gathered voluntarily to donate their blood,” said one of the staff members from the Korean Red Cross.

The idea of a blood drive came from Seong KiYeol, who is a deacon of the Choenghak Church and a nurse working in a hospital in Seoul. A month ago, he asked a blood supplier to deliver blood and received an answer that he needed to wait for 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 Mr. Seong. He thought he should make people around him know the situation, so he suggested to the church he attends that they should hold a blood drive.

To promote the blood drive, Mr. Seong posted on the online local community a week before the event, getting the attention of the local people. “Once we receive positive responses from the online community, it becomes easier to attract people on the day of the event.” It was also essential that members of the Cheonghak Church actively participate in the donation. Above all, what was key to making the blood drive possible was that the church has built up trust with their neighbors through volunteer service, charity sales, and street cleanup for the neighborhood. “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.

The participants’ faces were filled with joy from helping others. “It was my first time to donate blood. For the past few days, I have drunk enough water and have tried to keep myself in good health condition. I am so glad that my little effort can help to save someone’s life, and I will participate again next time there is a blood drive,” said Kwon SoonYeon, a church deaconess.

There was a mother and daughter getting on the blood drive bus together. Kim YouBin, the daughter, is a college freshman. “I have donated blood since I was in high school, but this time it feels more meaningful because many people, health workers, and patients in Korea are suffering from the coronavirus outbreak. I hope more people join this blood donation.” Mrs. Woo, her mother, said that she was proud of her daughter.

The church pastor Heo YoonKi expressed his deep appreciation for the donors and the volunteers from the church. “We have witnessed that the heart of sharing love with people in need has overcome the growing anxiety and fear amid the coronavirus pandemic. I hope many Adventists in Korea join the blood donation efforts,” said Pastor Heo.

The event finished around 5 p.m. A total of 77 people checked for eligibility, and 55 who met screening criteria donated blood. The church gave donors a bottle of hand sanitizer and a pack of grape juice. Aso, snacks and various gifts were donated from some of the local villagers. It was the day the Adventist church members and their neighbors worked together to make their community better.