Shops at Atlas Park honored for role in boosting blood donations for New York Blood Center

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, General Manager Peter DeLucia and Councilman Robert Holden gather to celebrate blood donations at The Shops at Atlas Park. (Photo provided by New York Blood Center)

The New York Blood Center (NYBC), state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilman Robert Holden honored The Shops at Atlas Park last Friday, Feb. 25, for its impressive contributions to the blood supply over the last two years.

The Shops at Atlas Park has provided its space on various occasions since the start of the pandemic, hosting multiple blood drives that have totaled to 5,811 donations and 17,433 lives saved. The Shops at Atlas Park has been the designated donation center in Queens since NYBC does not yet have a space in the borough. 

“We are so thankful to be part of a community that comes together to support each other,” said Peter DeLucia, general manager at The Shops at Atlas Park. “This award wouldn’t be possible if not for people generously donating much-needed blood. Together, we make our community stronger.”

Earlier this year, NYBC announced a blood emergency as the blood supply ran dangerously low. Blood centers across the county have been struggling to meet demand needs since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. As NYBC scrambled to get donations, Senior Executive Director Andrea Cefarelli at NYBC said The Shops at Atlas Park stepped up and rose to the occasion. 

“This continued partnership has helped us get through some of the most difficult moments of the pandemic and in our organization’s history,” Cefarelli said. “We are grateful for their support and that of all our generous partners. If you are interested in donating space for blood drives, I encourage you to visit our website and sign up.”

Before the pandemic started, there were 50,000 annual blood donations made at high schools. But as schools went remote, and the public became increasingly scared of contracting COVID-19, donations dropped by about 25%. Now, there has been about a 10% to 15% increase in blood donations. 

At the event to honor leaders of The Shops at Atlas Park and NYBC, Addabbo and Holden awarded them with citations and certificates to celebrate the important work they have done.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic forced many blood donation sites and drives to close, Atlas Park was there and opened their space to New York Blood Center over the last two years,” Addabbo said. “It is this continuing partnership between Atlas Park, New York Blood Center and the local community that has allowed us to save so many lives because the need for blood is always high. I look forward to co-sponsoring more blood drives with Atlas Park and to saving more lives.”

Holden also said he is proud to co-sponsor these blood drives in his community since there is such an urgent need. 

“There is no substitute for blood and its lifesaving components,” Holden said. “I thank the NYBC and The Shops at Atlas Park for the good work they do, along with all the New Yorkers who donate blood and save lives.”

This month, The Shops at Atlas Park is hosting blood drives scheduled for March 12, 16, 17 24 and 26. For more information and to make an appointment for an upcoming blood drive, donors can call 800-933-2566 or visit nybc.org/atlaspark.