Community Blood Center Opens In Beverly

CBC President and CEO John Hagins and Executive Director of Chicago Operations, Samantha Speaks cut the ribbon to officially open the Beverly-based donor center. Photo provided by Rudd Resources.
CBC President and CEO John Hagins and Executive Director of Chicago Operations, Samantha Speaks cut the ribbon to officially open the Beverly-based donor center. Photo provided by Rudd Resources.

Community Blood Center Opens In Beverly

By Tia Carol Jones

The Community Blood Center has opened a location in Beverly, which is the first one in Chicago, to meet the needs of those local hospitals and those who want to donate blood. It is located at 9920 S. Western.

The Community Blood Center was founded in 1955 in Wisconsin by two local hospitals that were looking to provide a stable blood supply for the people who would have been patients at the hospitals. The goal was to help hospitals better meet the needs of their patients, part of that was to meet the needs of local blood donors.

John Hagins, CEO of Community Blood Center, starts at the community level first with its blood donations and builds out. Its philosophy is to join a community when there is a need and to work within the community to address issues.

Prior to opening the Beverly location, Community Blood Center collected blood through blood drives at mobile locations, starting in 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. It wasn’t until after the pandemic that Community Blood Center was able to do more, which led to the opening of the Beverly location.

“There’s a large unmet need for blood donations in Chicago. We originally were partnering with Gift of Hope along with organ procurement, but what we saw was an opportunity to build a strong blood supply and starting on the South side and starting on the Southwest side, to connect friends and neighbors to the local patients that need blood products,” Hagins said.

Hagins said the Southwest side was chosen for the location because they wanted the first place to be within a community where they knew they could support the community and knew the community would support them. They found it in Beverly and in the surrounding communities.  The Community Blood Center also has a great relationship with 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea.  The Community Blood Center also wanted to hire staff and provide volunteer opportunities within the community.

The Community Blood Center also has a partnership with Malcolm X College to bring students who graduate from the college’s phlebotomy program to the center. Hagins said partnering with the local planning associations was important because it was necessary for the Community Blood Center to listen to them when it came to hearing about the needs of the community and how to connect. From those conversations, they were able to find out the best ways to connect, how to break down the barriers to blood donation and how they could be helpful in the community. Their goal was to find out how they could fit in.

“We didn’t come in with a preconceived notion of ‘this is the way it’s going to work’ and ‘this is the way we’re going to engage everyone local in blood donations.’ We came in with a ‘how can we engage people in blood donations.’ We have this unmet need for a diverse blood supply so we can meet the needs of an ethnically diverse patient base,” Hagins said.

For more information, visit www.communityblood.org.

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