Henrico County VA
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VBS Seeks Donations to Keep Supplies Strong

Virginia Blood Services (VBS) officials are hoping to see an increase in donations with upcoming blood drives and stressing the importance of what giving blood can do for someone in the community.

“The reality and need for blood is daily,” said David Ambrogi, VBS’s volunteer coordinator for Henrico County.

VBS collects approximately 130,000 donations and holds more than 2,700 blood drives a year. The organization is holding several blood drives to combat recent decreases in donations.

“Holidays are the hardest times for blood donations,” said Marly Fausz, communications manager for VBS. All blood types are needed, especially O negative – the universal blood type.

The non-profit has been providing services for patients since 1974 around Central Virginia and employs more than 280 people.

VBS has eight donor centers including two in the West End, one in Chesterfield, and one in Chester. It receives no government funding and must rely upon donations and processing fees from patients’ transfusion charges to cover expenses and continue their effort of saving lives.

“With each donation, three lives are saved,” said Ambrogi. Four hundred pints of blood are needed every day just in Richmond alone and in a good year, only 1,200 total donations are given, he said.

Henrico County public safety, mental health, public works, and other departments hold blood drives six times a year on site for people to donate.

Blood drives are a source for VBS to gather volunteer donors to help individuals in need. A blood drive will be held at the Ruby Tuesday at Virginia Center Commons in Glen Allen from Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 27-30 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A bloodmobile also will be set up at Short Pump Town Center by the Crate and Barrel store during the same dates and times. Donors will be entered into a raffle for a $50 Visa gift card at both locations. Qdoba Mexican Grill is donating free entree cards for donors at both drives as well.

If 1,000 pints are donated, 3,000 lives could be saved. Blood donations help with surgeries, cancer treatments, joint replacements, and other therapies and conditions.

“Life ceases to exist without blood donation,” said Ambrogi.

If individuals aren’t able to donate, they can sponsor a blood drive to provide support for patients in need in the community. “You can recruit donations by holding your own blood drive with your business or organization,” said Fauz.

Last year, nearly 70,000 people volunteered to give blood to the Virginia Blood Services; VBS officials are hoping for the same this season.

“One in seven people entering the hospital this holiday will need blood,” Fausz said. “There are many different uses that people just don’t think about that are needed.”

To donate or to find a center or a local blood drive, visit: http://www.vablood.org
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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