By Darriel Hoy
On the weekend that most Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, Pastor Baron Sovory of the Valley Fellowship Church used the message of Christ’s life-saving blood to urge church and community members to give as Christ gave. The congregation responded to the national blood crisis – a critical shortage of blood due to the Coronavirus pandemic – by partnering with the American Red Cross to host a community blood drive. Held on Sabbath, April 16, 2022, the Valley Fellowship blood drive was organized by leader Deborah Enix Williams with team members Ruth Grando, Melinda Ancrum, and Al Fairley.
“Hosting a blood drive coincides with Valley Fellowship’score values of loving our neighbors through relevant, life-transforming ministry,” shared Pastor Sovory. “With a simple blood donation - about 30 minutes of our time - we have the ability to help save the life of someone who could be a coworker, loved one, or neighbor. I thank Valley Fellowship for answering the urgent call for more blood donors. Every person who participated is a life saver!”
Valley Fellowship’s blood drive attracted almost as many first-time blood donors as long-term blood donors, and most of the participants were invited by a family member. Donna Belvedere, a seasoned donor who has given blood for over 46 years arrived with her daughter Shelby who started donating blood at the age of 16 and has given blood for 20 years. Sonjanetha Scott, the community services leader of the Sixteenth Street Seventh-day Adventist Church and a regular blood donor, was persuaded to give blood by her brother-in-law, Larry Scott, a Valley Fellowship elder and a first-time blood donor. Laura Ulibarri, a medical scribe, coached her mother Donna Ulibarri through her first blood donation, and Pastor Baron Sovory’s mother, Rosalyn Sovory, as well as his daughter, Joelle Sovory, joined him in donating blood.
By the end of the blood drive, thirty church and community members donated one pint of blood each, surpassing the goal of twenty donors set by the American Red Cross. Because each blood donation can be separated into multiple components - packed red blood cells, plasma, or platelets, one donation could potentially save up to three lives.
The Valley Fellowship Church blood drive is one of hundreds of Regional Blood Drives scheduled across the country throughout the year. Coordinated by the Office for Regional Conference Ministries in partnership with the American Red Cross, the Regional Blood Drives recruit African-American and Hispanic American blood donors to meet the needs of sickle cell patients; however, all races and ethnicities are encouraged and invited to give blood. To host a Regional Blood Drive at your church, register at https://rebrand.ly/rblood.