Survivors of the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart are in "urgent need" of blood, according to the American Red Cross.

Ennis residents answered the call.

A community blood drive over the weekend outside of Walmart drew good Samaritans who rolled up their sleeves to give the gift of life.

"We collected 26 pints [of blood], which was great for the drive," Ellis County Program Manager for the American Red Cross Lee Roberts said. "We had seven persons who were screened and couldn't give for medical reasons such as hemoglobin levels being low."

With a growing demand for blood across the country, however, the drive extended beyond just helping victims in El Paso.

The mission included "keeping blood supply levels at optimum levels in Texas and across the nation, as well as furnishing blood and blood products for the recovering victims of the tragedies, both in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH," according to an Aug. 20 press release.

The El Paso shooting left at least 22 dead and 24 injured when Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, opened fire in a busy Walmart. He currently faces capital murder charges. Less than 24 hours later on Aug. 4, tragedy struck again when Connor Betts, 24, went on a shooting rampage inside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Ten people were killed and 27 others were injured. Betts was killed at the scene by police.

"This blood drive and countless others cements the fact that Texans are one big family and always operates under that premise especially in times of tragedy, disaster and peril," Roberts said in the press release.

Each donor received an #ElPasoStrong T-shirt, a coupon for Taco Bell and an Amazon gift card. Roberts said those who didn't meet eligibility requirements were still given gifts.

"The drive was a success. The volunteers were great," Roberts said.

The blood drive moves to Waxahachie on Sept. 19 at Waxahachie Ford. For eligibility requirements, visit

Additionally, the Red Cross advises donors to "get a good night's sleep the night before your donation, eat healthy foods and drink extra liquids."


Patrick Clarke | @PatrickClarke1