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Six local breweries are teaming up to encourage New Englanders to donate blood in August, a notoriously difficult time to ensure a steady blood supply and a challenge now intensified by the pandemic.

During the month of August, all presenting donors at Rhode Island Blood Center’s (RIBC) six donor centers and select mobile blood drives who are 21 or older can choose to receive a coupon for a free pint of beer. A typical blood donation is one pint, which can help save up to three lives by being made into three blood products -- red cells, platelets, and plasma. Participating breweries include Whalers Brewing Company in South Kingstown, Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly, Linesider in East Greenwich, The Guild in Pawtucket, Proclamation Ale Company in Warwick, and Newport Craft Brewing Co. in Newport.

All presenting donors 16+ years of age will also be automatically entered to win $100 Amazon Gift Card when they donate in August.

Summer has always been challenging to prevent blood shortages, Kara LeBlanc, manager of marketing communications at RIBC, says, “We’re competing with beautiful beach days, vacations, and schools that regularly hold drives being out of session.” Compounding that, about 50% of the region’s blood supply comes from mobile blood drives held at large corporate businesses or churches. “Most of those companies’ workforce is still working remotely, or the organizations themselves are not operating the same way they used to.” Patients, however, do not get a break from needing blood. “We appreciate these local breweries coming together to encourage blood donation and hope it will help them as they face the challenge of staying open with the reduced capacity necessary to keep their staff and customers safe.”

Emily Sorlien, brand manager of Whalers, says, “We are open for take-out beer and limited seating, and we've been working hard to ensure our taproom protocols create the safest environment for our customers to relax and enjoy a cold beer. There has been such an outpouring from members of the community looking to support local businesses like ours during these unprecedented times. We're humbled and feel incredibly grateful to be able to give back to our community this summer by promoting the critical, life-saving work of the RI Blood Center."

Blood is needed to help women and newborns during complications with childbirth; people battling cancer or undergoing chemotherapy; people who have suffered trauma or severe burns; people with heart and kidney disease and blood disorders like sickle cell anemia; and individuals who need surgery and organ transplants.

All presenting center donors in August will also be automatically entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Donors 16 years and older are eligible for the gift card drawing. Donors must be 21 years of age to participate in the pint for a pint program. To encourage responsible drinking, coupons cannot be redeemed on the same day as the blood or platelet donation. Breweries strictly enforce checking identification of patrons to ensure they are of legal drinking age.