DAYTON, Ohio — It's Neal Fitze's 340th time donating plasma at the Community Blood Center (CBC) in Dayton. It’s something that’s important to him because he knows it helps in emergency situations.

“The need for blood, plasma, platelets is an emergency all the time,” Fitze said. 

What You Need To Know

  • The "We are Essential Heroes Blood Drive" is hoping to meet 1,000 donations by the end of the week

  • Donors are rewarded with a $10 Kroger gift card, a t-shirt and a facemask that has "HERO" on it (while supplies last)

  • Donors can also nominate essential heroes to win a $200 Kroger gift card

  • The blood drive runs until July 3

He said it’s an easy way he can step up and potentially save someone's life.

“Everybody who comes in here in a way is a hero," Fitze said. 

But to attract more heroes like Fitze to come and donate blood in Dayton, the CBC is calling on essential heroes to make a difference, which led to the creation of the week-long "We are Essential Heroes Blood Drive." Public Relations and Marketing Manager Mark Pompilio said summer is one of the more challenging times for blood centers. 

“There are no high school blood drives during the summer,” Pompilio said. “And there’s definitely an increase in accidents and trauma cases as people travel more and get outside more.” 

He said when you couple the usual summer struggle with COVID-19, it makes it extremely tough to make sure the blood supply stays stocked. 

Each donor receives a $10 Kroger gift card, a t-shirt and a hero facemask. And as an added bonus, they can nominate an essential hero they admire for a chance to win a $200 Kroger gift card.

On day one of the week-long blood drive, they had 100 appointments scheduled, but Pompilio said they need many more donors to schedule appointments if they want to meet their mark of 1,000 to 1,500 donors per week. 

“We’re really going to come at it Monday hoping to burn through that week with a lot of donors through here,” Pompilio said. “Because then we’re up against the July 4th holiday next Saturday.” 

To donate you have to make an appointment online at When you arrive, you have to wear a mask, pass a temperature test as well as meet other health criteria. But once you’re approved, it takes about an hour to complete the donation process. 

And as Fitze energizes after donating his plasma, he said he hopes more people will consider donating because you never know when a family member or friend could need blood. 

“You will find that it’s been worth your while to spend a few minutes here and save a life," Fitze said. 

The "We Are Essential Heroes Blood Drive" runs until July 3 at the CBC Donation Center in Downtown Dayton.