The American Red Cross is urging individuals to give blood during Black History Month to honor the legacies of Black medical professionals such as Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Jerome Holland, according to a press release.
The release said Drew was the medical director of the Red Cross blood bank in 1941. Holland served as the first Black chair of the Red Cross Board of Governors.
The Red Cross is especially encouraging those that have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood and plasma, which can be used to help current COVID-19 patients.
All those who donate blood during the month of February will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via email.
Donated blood and plasma will also be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, and donors will be able to view their antibody test results approximately one to two weeks after donating.
Donation sites have also put extra precautions in place to aid in COVID-19 safety, including social distancing, mask-wearing and temperature checks.
The Red Cross will host a blood drive 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 in Des Moines at the Central Iowa Humanitarian Chapter. Another blood drive will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 26 in Story City at Harvest Evangelical Free Church.