DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Sports may look different right now due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join a team to help save lives.

The Community Blood Center’s Join the Team initiative aims to make up for donations cancelled this winter by teams, organizations, and high schools to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

“We still face the fact that high schools, as much as they try, are forced to cancel for various reasons,” said communications and public relations manager at the Blood Center, Mark Pompilio. “But we know it’s all related to the pandemic and when we lose blood drives, we lose the assurity that we’ll have enough blood to get through the weekend.”

While the theme was originally supposed to run for only one Friday in January in recognition of National and Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month, Pompilio said they’re now encouraging donations every Friday through February.

“We used to be able to be well supplied by the weekends because Friday was a popular day for high school blood drives, particularly the large high school blood drives, because it made sense for them to have an event like that toward the end of the week, right before the weekend. With those being absent, canceled, or reduced in size, it really puts a strain on that ability to have a surge of like collections prior to the weekend.” 

Because of the severe shortage, the blood center has also set a goal to sign up 300 donors every day in January as part of the initiative, and they’re asking community members to more seriously commit to donating and saving lives than ever before. 

“It’s not enough to say, ‘Hey, could you donate blood maybe once, maybe try it sometime?’ No, we have to go way further and we have to say, ‘Can you donate three times this year? Can you make that commitment to do three times?’ That’s what we have to reach out and do because the math does not work, otherwise.”

Incentives for donating include a Chick-fil-A gift card and a long-sleeve t-shirt. To sign up, visit or call (937)461-3220.