WATERTOWN — Todd Sullivan was donating blood less than 24 hours after he was laid off from his construction job and sent home.
Mr. Sullivan, Copenhagen, was at the First Presbyterian Church, Washington Street, on Saturday morning for one of the few Red Cross blood drives taking place in the area.
On Friday, he was working a water line job in the town of Orleans before the construction company he worked for told he and his coworkers they were laid-off.
“So I guess we’re out of a job,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That’s all right. We’ll make it. There are a lot worse things in life right now.”
Mr. Sullivan said he was given no indication when he might return to work.
“I’m a little worried about that part,” Mr. Sullivan said. “But it’s a seasonal job, so you do what you can until they lay you off in the winter again.”
Mr. Sullivan, who said he had nine children and 16 grandchildren with his wife who remains employed by the state, wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to donate his blood.
“They need the blood,” he said, “and I’m certainly going to go and give.”
His sentiment is apparently shared by many others. The drive at the church offered 33 time slots for people to choose and donate, and they all were booked. With additional walk-ins, 51 units were donated.
Josh Brooks, of Dexter, was also there. He has donated blood regularly since 2014. Ideally, the Red Cross would like to have a five-day blood supply. On Saturday, they were down to a two- to four day supply, since donations are down and drives are being canceled.
“They’re always short,” Mr. Brooks said. “I used to work in a hospital. I was kind of aware that it was always a problem. I would give regularly when I stilled worked there. That was easy enough to do.”
Mr. Brooks said he and his family are trying to practice social distancing as well as not going outside their house unless they have to.
“I had to run to Walmart to get something the other day and I found myself unconsciously holding my breath,” Mr. Brooks said while giving blood. “Every time I got within five feet of someone, I was thinking ‘let’s see how long I can hold my breath for.’”
And going to donate blood for Mr. Brooks meets the standard of having to go out.
“Apparently they’re in a critical shortage,” Mr. Brooks said. “And I felt really bad about that.”
Bob Gorman, a member of the church and avid donator, said the church’s leadership closed it down for everything but the blood drive.
“There’s no such thing as synthetic blood,” Mr. Gorman said. “If not us, who? If we don’t do this blood drive, our hospitals are going to be hurting.”