Local McDonald’s operators are partnering with Carter Bloodcare to maintain a healthy blood supply in North Texas.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit in March, more than 500 blood drives have been canceled or postponed indefinitely. On average, 600 to 800 patients rely on trusted blood transfusions daily.

In participation, McDonald’s locations in North Texas will transform their parking lots into donation centers, hosting more than 50 blood drives.

"I’m sure we’d like to see – that just thinking 600 to 800 patients a day rely on transfusions – we would probably like to see in the hundreds to come out in the North Texas area. We would love to see them come out and split amongst all of the locations," said Keoni Holoman, spokesperson for Carter Bloodcare. "One of the reasons we’re so excited to partner with McDonald’s, it’s just they’re a big brand and we’re hoping that a lot of people who can connect with their brand will also connect with a really great cause like Carter Bloodcare. We’re hoping for a lot of people to come out."

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Holoman stated that donors were getting low.

"Blood drive sponsors are harder to find since their businesses, schools or houses of worship are social distancing or not allowing visitors inside," said Dr. Merlyn Sayers, president and CEO of Carter BloodCare. "It is important that blood collections mirror the diversity of patients that visit area hospitals. Blood drives provide that support because they can take place most anywhere."

The partnership between Carter Bloodcare and McDonald’s will kick off at the Globe Life Field in Arlington with the Texas Rangers Sept. 1-3, continuing throughout the month.

Additionally, Carter BloodCare is offering COVID-19 antibody testing on successful donations, for a limited time. Donors can obtain their results within one to two weeks through a secure portal on the blood center’s website.

McDonald’s will also be giving donors who give blood during the month of September a voucher for one free medium lunch or dinner Combo Meal redeemable at McDonald’s restaurants in Greater Dallas-Fort Worth, Tyler and Waco.

During times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carter Bloodcare is encouraging appointments to help manage the flow and avoid crowding. Walk-in appointments will be accepted, and donors will check in upon arrival to be directed to a designated waiting area until space is available.

Cleanliness and sanitation will continue to be a top priority for the blood drive.

"That is our top priority being that we are a health related industry. So what we are doing to make sure that our donors are safe and our staff, is that we are requiring masks of the people that come, and our staff will be wearing them. We have been doing a social distancing set-up, meaning we will be six feet apart," Holoman shared. "We’ve been doing that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to do so at each drive. We will be doing double sanitation. Cleanliness has always been a big part of what we do. One of the standard procedures is that we ask if you are feeling well the day of the donation. If you are not feeling well, then we encourage you to reschedule."

To reduce wait time and contact during the appointment, a medical questionnaire can be completed in advance, the day of the donation, through the Carter BloodCare app or by online access at qs.carterbloodcare.org.

For a full list of September blood drive locations and dates, visit www.carterbloodcare.org/summer-blood-drives/.