KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — MEDIC Regional Blood Center is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 17 – 24. Throughout the week, MEDIC will also donate $5 per donor that chooses to “Skip the Gift” that week.

Donors can choose to forgo the shirt and instead MEDIC will donate money to support efforts in Ukraine.

MEDIC’s Director of Communications, Kristy Altman, spoke about how the workers and volunteers feel for those in Ukraine. She added that they know how it can feel to have a low blood supply.

“I can tell you that it’s just a sinking feeling in your stomach when you go in and there’s nothing on the shelves,” Altman said.

As of Tuesday evening, Altman said 55 donors have opted out of the shirt or gift, meaning $275 for Ukraine.

She said this is a true testament of the giving spirit in the Volunteer State.

“East Tennesseans have big hearts, so many people asked how can we support,” she said. “We’re thankful to have so many great partners across the country who also had the same idea, so there’s a great collective effort that we’re gonna be able to help them out.”

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made online at www.medicblood.org or by calling 865-524-3074. Appointments allow our staff to mitigate wait times and control donor flow.

Also during National Volunteer Week, MEDIC will automatically enter all donors in a drawing for a $500 e-gift redeemable at hundreds of organizations. Donors must have a valid email address to win.

MEDIC is the primary blood product provider for 24 hospitals in 22 counties including Blount Memorial, Covenant Health System, East TN Children’s Hospital, Tennova Healthcare, and UT Medical Center.