St. Catherine of Siena Parish is committed to strengthening the community and helping meet hospital and patient needs through blood donations. “Hosting the blood drive is our way of giving our neighbors an opportunity to help save lives,” said parishioner Laureen Mathon, blood drive coordinator.

The parish began sponsoring the blood drives after a new parish hall and gathering space were built in 2020; they take place every other month, and repeat donors come from the surrounding towns as well as from Shelburne.

Usually there are at least 30 donors per blood drive, and in the past year there have been 195 donors.

Parishioners volunteer in several ways. The day before the drive, those attending morning Mass are asked to help set up the gathering space for the reception and canteen area. Volunteers put the tables and chairs back after the drive is over. On the day of the drive, volunteers help with check-in of the donors and at the canteen table, observing the donors after they donate and encouraging them to stay 15 minutes and have water and a snack to make sure they feel well enough to leave.

Some parishioners volunteer to bake cookies or brownies for the canteen. “We’ve been told by the donors that we have the best snacks,” Mathon said.

The St. Catherine blood drives take place every other month, usually on a Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m.

“Advent is a season of hope and preparation as we anticipate the birth of Christ. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood,” Mathon said. “We can give hope to them by donating blood during Advent and give the greatest gift of all — the gift of life.”

According to the Red Cross, its national blood supply has fallen by about 25 percent since early August. Blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to give blood, visit or call 1-800-733-2767.

—Originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.