After a long weekend of Christmas shopping, local residents have the opportunity to give the most important gift of all today when The Blood Connection sets up at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for the last blood drive of the year.
Blood Connection busses arrived at the LCSO on West Main Street in Laurens at 8:15 this morning, where they will remain until 11:30 a.m. Then another blood mobile will arrive at 1 p.m. and accept donors until 5 p.m.
“This will be the last blood drive we host for 20156 at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Ricky Chastain, “so please come out and support this worthy, lifesaving cause before Christmas.”
In addition to the knowledge that they’re saving up to three lives for every unit of blood donated, donors will also receive a $10 Walmart gift card when they donate, as well as Blood Connection Reward Points that can be redeemed for other gift cards.
Donors must be at least 18 years old or 16 with parental consent. For a list of eligibility requirements, visit www.thebloodconnection.org.
While at the LCSO, donors can also take the opportunity to make donations to the LCSO’s Christmas for Kids program. Registration to receive aid from the program is now closed, but the Sheriff’s Office will be accepting monetary donations, as well as new, unwrapped toys and clothes through the weekend before Christmas.
Previously, Christmas for Kids has helped ensure that over 700 children annually have had gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. The program serves children up to 16 years old, so age-appropriate donations such as make-up, jewelry and sports equipment are welcome. Canned goods and nonperishable foods will also be accepted for food boxes, which will be distributed to families across the county.
Donations may be dropped off at the LCSO at 216 West Main Street in Laurens, and monetary donations can also be mailed to Christmas for Kids, c/o Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, P.O. Box 68, Laurens, 29360.
The Seventh Annual Christmas for Kids Toy Ride is also scheduled for Dec. 10 at 1 p.m., when riders will depart from the Hillcrest Square parking lot on their way to the Laurens VFW. All riders are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or age-appropriate clothing to benefit Christmas for Kids.
And, of course, no Christmas in Laurens County would be complete without the Christmas for Kids Wrestling event, scheduled for Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Laurens Exchange Building.
Officially dubbed “The Grand Finale” it will be the last match in which Ricky Chastain participates as Sheriff of Laurens County. In recognition of all the fans and wrestlers who have come out over the years, Chastain said there will be a special reception after the match where fans can get autographs or just mingle with their favorite fighters.
“This may be the last one that some of us are involved in,” Chastain said. “It’s just our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all the people who have come out and helped Christmas for Kids over all these years.”
Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for kids between the ages of five and 12. Donations are welcome and all proceeds go to the Christmas for Kids program. For more information about donating or applying, call Stiles at 864-984-4967.