The first annual Waconia area interfaith blood drive held last week was a great success, according to organizers, and plans are to try to bring in more donors next year.

The Waconia Knights of Columbus teamed up with 11 other faith groups and Memorial Blood Centers to sponsor the inaugural event at a time when blood banks and hospitals report they are in critical need of blood.

Blood drive planners twice exceed their original donor goals of filling 50, then 75 time slots, and ended up with 69 blood donations, according to Alicia Northenscold, account manager with Memorial’s blood resources group. There were some no-shows on what turned out to be a slippery-road day March 1 following a weekend snow.

“We want to thank the Knights of Columbus and everyone for their efforts and participation in promoting the event,” Northenscold said. “We were completely filled up for our second target goal almost one week before the blood drive event.”

The blood drive was held at the Ridgeview medical trailer on Highway 5 in Waconia across the street from the hospital at what had been a Holiday gas station. Memorial Blood Centers brought two bloodmobiles to support the effort.

“The logistics worked out excellent,” said Knights of Columbus organizer Dan Borowicz. “We could have handled even more donors. People stopped by and walked up to the trailer, but under COVID -19 protocols, we had to turn most of them away. Once we all get the vaccine and restrictions are either reduced or eliminated, we should get even more collections.”

Indeed, the second annual Waconia Area Interfaith Blood Drive is already scheduled for Monday, March 7, 2022, at the same location, with a goal of 125 donations. The Knights of Columbus plan to hold the blood drive the first Monday of every March, according to Borowicz, and welcome additional sponsors for next year.

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