Central Bank of Sedalia is busy saving lives with its third annual Community Challenge Blood Drive to be hosted Sept. 15 and 16 at the First United Methodist Church.
President and CEO Greg Eby and commercial banking and marketing associates Erica Petersen, Adrienn Dieckman and Haleigh Mullins are organizing the event. Eby said Tuesday, Sept. 5 that the event has increased the number of units donated yearly.
“It’s continuing to grow year after year,” Eby said. “Before I moved to Sedalia, I was in Muskogee, Oklahoma, (and) this is something we started in that community, and it was a real success.
“So, I wanted to replicate that for Sedalia,” he continued. “And it’s just grown tremendously.”
In the first year of the Sedalia event in 2021, the bank introduced the idea to the community, which challenges all the nonprofits to rally members to donate for their organization.
“Then the groups that turn out the most donors get a cash prize from the bank,” Eby said. “The first year we did this in 2021, we set out a goal of 75 donations, and we actually collected 117.”
The group winning in 2021 was the State Fair Community College Foundation, with the First United Methodist Church in second place. In 2021, first place received $1,000 and second $500. In 2022, the First United Methodist Church placed first with $1,500, the SFCC Foundation with $1,000, and Sedalia School District 200 with $500.
This year the prize money has increased substantially to $2,500 for first, $1,250 for second, $750 for third, and $500 for fourth.
“So, for 2023, we’re going to do it over a two-day period; in the past, it was just one day,” Eby said. “And our goal is to collect 200 units. In Muskogee, this got to be a big annual event … and it’s kind of evolving into that here as well.”
Mallard’s Barbecue food truck will be on hand during the blood drive on both days.
Although the event targets nonprofit groups, Eby said he encourages individuals to come out and donate under the name of their favorite nonprofit.
“They have to be a 501(c)3 for the donation,” Petersen explained. “Really, we need the blood, but it makes it more fun to make it a challenge — people are competitive. So, it’s just a fun opportunity to spur them to come to the event.”
Eby added the “point to is to get the numbers to turn out.”
“Because each unit of blood has the potential of saving three lives,” he explained.
Mullins added the Community Blood Center told them that in the first two years, with the units collected at the event, 795 lives were saved. Petersen noted the importance of the Community Blood Center in supplying blood to Sedalia and the surrounding area.
“They serve Missouri and Mid-Missouri, so the blood that’s donated here actually goes back to our community,” she added. “That’s also important.
“They told us through the pandemic, blood donations have been severally impacted,” she continued. “So, over the last couple years, they’ve lost 25,000 donors. The need for blood is extremely important.”
Eby said the bank has 75 employees, and he is offering them a day off to encourage them to give blood. As of Tuesday, bank employees have signed up, with 120 people registered.
“The idea is if we exceed our goal for this year, we will have a baseline for next year,” Eby noted. “And then we can continue to let these prize amounts grow year after year.”
Mullins said people should schedule an appointment, making it easier for them to donate. For more information, contact her at 660-596-7688 or email@example.com. There is also a place to register on the Central Bank Facebook page. The page also has impact stories about why donating blood is so important.
“We joke that this is a nonprofit get-together to compete, but at the end of the day, the blood is the most important part,” Mullins added. “We need those blood donations.”
The Central Bank Blood Drive Community Challenge will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the First United Methodist Church, 916 Thompson Blvd. All those there to donate will receive a free Kansas City Chiefs T-shirt.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 660-530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.