WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Carter BloodCare is counting on the employees of H-E-B stores in Central Texas to help encourage blood donation this summer, amid an urgent need.

The 19th annual “H-E-B Challenge” blood drive is when the grocery chain prioritizes blood donation awareness. Summer is the season when blood donors are traditionally harder to find. Since the pandemic, Carter BloodCare and blood programs nationwide have suffered the worst blood shortage in decades. Blood donors of all blood types are needed now, and new blood donors are encouraged to give it a try. 

H-E-B started its community partnership with Carter BloodCare in 2002 – with a large-scale, company-wide, multi-location blood drive event. Since then, H-E-B has helped collect 7,348 pints of blood. Carter Bloodcare says one pint can save at least three lives, so the grocery company can estimate 22,000 lives they have helped to save.

In 2020, during the pandemic, the H-E-B Challenge registered 650 blood donors and collected 571 pints of blood.

The H-E-B Challenge is coming to the Waco area, along with several opportunities to give. The first blood drives will be from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 24 and Monday, June 27, at 1821 Valley Mills Drive on the Carter BloodCare bus. For more information or to make an appointment, you can contact Kyndle Oppenheim at (254) 710-9400.

The next Waco area H-E-B Challenge drive will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, June 24 at 1301 Wooded Acres Drive on the Carter BloodCare bus. For more information or to make an appointment, you can contact Brenda Zamarripa at (254) 776-7040.

Employees of each participating H-E-B store challenge each other to encourage the most blood donors. The store with the highest ratio of blood donors to partners (employees), receives a traveling trophy. This type of competition equals the playing field between small and large stores. The store with the highest number of pints donated at their blood drive is also awarded a trophy. Carter BloodCare’s Central Texas staff also hosts an ice cream social for the employees of the two winning H-E-B stores.

Each blood donor will receive a free “Give for Texans” T-shirt, available in sizes M – 3XL while supplies last.

Residents can also can secure a spot at the blood drive by calling 800-366-2834, or by visiting CarterBloodCare.org and clicking on the “Donate Now” tab.