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Ky. Baptist blood drives to add ‘real-life’ facet to CP celebration

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–It’s certainly not your typical celebration activity but Kentucky Baptists are gearing up to celebrate the Cooperative Program’s birthday by giving an unprecedented gift to the people of Kentucky.

It is hoped that Operation Cooperation, a statewide blood drive set for Sept. 10-23, will have a major impact on the state’s blood supplies.

Blood drives and promotional fun runs will be held in more than 25 cities across Kentucky to let the people know that Kentucky Baptists care about them so much that they are literally ready to give their own blood.

“The need for blood is always so great at this time of year and this will be a wonderful opportunity for us as Baptists to share about the one who gave all his blood for us,” said KBC communications director Robert Reeves, who is helping to coordinate the project for the convention’s CP 75th Anniversary Committee. “This project ties our celebration of missions giving to real-life missions beautifully.”

The Cooperative Program, founded in 1925, is the giving channel by which Baptists support missions and ministry initiatives of their state conventions and, nationally and internationally, of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The key to making the blood drives and promotional runs successful is the cooperation of local committees that are being organized to work with blood service professionals to plan and promote the events. Most committees are being divided into two subcommittees — one to plan the blood drive itself and one to plan a promotional fun run designed to draw attention in the local community to Operation Cooperation.

Local coordinators will be attending a training session in Louisville on April 15.

The goal is to get Kentucky Baptists personally involved in reaching out in a way that opens the door to the secular community in a positive way, Reeves said, adding that the blood drive is the steak and the promotional run provides the sizzle.

“So often the perception among non-Christians is that Baptists are those folks who are ‘against’ everything. This gives us an opportunity to take the initiative of being ‘for’ something everyone can support,” Reeves said. “And if we just so happen to share that the reason we’re so ready to give is because Jesus gave for us, folks will be a lot more receptive to that message than they might be under other circumstances.”

Reeves added that one of the beauties of Operation Cooperation is that all Kentucky Baptists can participate even if they can’t give blood.

“It’s going to take cooperation from so many angles to make this thing click. We won’t just need blood donors. We also need people who are willing to volunteer to help with the planning and promotion, volunteers to help schedule appointments, volunteers to be greeters, volunteers to be runners or help with the run and many other activities,” Reeves said. “Everyone who wants to be a part can be a part.”

So far blood drives are planned for the following cities with others expected to be added: Ashland, Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Erlanger, Frankfort, Glasgow, Hazard, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Lexington, London, Louisville, Madisonville, Mayfield, Middlesboro, Morehead, Morganfield, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah, Paintsville, Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Richmond, Somerset and Williamsburg.

Reeves said specific dates for the drives in each city have not yet been determined. They will have to be spread out over the course of the two-week period in order to accommodate the limited number of blood collection crews and equipment that are available.

It is hoped that the blood drive will establish a record and possibly a precedent for Baptists in other states, Reeves said.

“This is really something that’s never been done in quite this way before as far as we can tell,” Reeves said. “In order to make this a statewide event, we’re having to work with 10 different blood service regions. Most blood drives are strictly local efforts but we’re seeking to take it to a whole new level. The blood service representatives are certainly excited about what we’re doing and I’ve already heard from the blood service center in Knoxville wanting to know if Tennessee Baptists are going to do the same thing.”

The Kentucky Baptist Convention wants to hear from individuals who want to be an active part in Operation Cooperation — either as a blood donor or as a volunteer for a local committee. Individuals can call (502) 254-4731 or 1-888-254-5713 to express an interest or send an e-mail to Reeves at [email protected]

The convention’s Internet site also has a section on Operation Cooperation. It can be found at http://www.kybaptist.org/operationcooperation.htm.

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