Wondering what to give this holiday season - how about a pint of blood?
For every pint of blood donated between Dec. 18 and Jan. 11, the New York Blood Center will donate $10 to New York City Fire Department-backed charities.
In an effort to increase blood donation during the winter season, the blood center and the FDNY teamed up to create a new program: The FDNY/NYBC Critical Days Program, which aims to encourage people to donate blood and help generate money for three charities.
"The blood center, like other organizations, gives back to the community," said program manager Michele Lariviere. "We decided it would be a great idea for people to give blood while also making a donation."
Donors can go to any blood center in the region, including on Long Island, to give blood but must give volunteers the code 4FDNY so the blood center knows to donate the $10 to the charities.
Matthew Long, 43, a New York City firefighter, said he received 68 pints of blood in 2005 when he was run over by a bus as he biked to work during the city's transit strike.
"I am living proof that blood donations count and save lives," said Long, who is assigned to Ladder 43 in Spanish Harlem.
The new program is expected to be unveiled Monday by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Christopher Hillyer, president and chief executive of the New York Blood Center.To get more information, call 1-800-933-2566.
Nassau County donation locations include:
2500 Marcus Ave., Lake Success
290 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre
Suffolk County donation locations include:
3125 Veterans Hwy, Bohemia.
1149 Old Country Rd., Riverhead
1010 Route 112 (100 yards south of Route 347), Port Jefferson Station