Here are two ways Ventura County residents can help their communities with very little effort and without spending a dime: Make a donation at the blood bank and set Christmas trees out for recycling.
* The blood banks that supply Ventura County’s hospitals are running low and could use some quick help. Although the American Red Cross also collects blood in Ventura County, the county’s main blood bank is the nonprofit United Blood Services.
To keep up with local demand, United needs to collect about 110 pints each day. In recent weeks, fewer than half that many donors have been stopping in to give. One factor is the region’s low unemployment rate: More people working means fewer available blood donors. Others factors may include holiday distractions, vacations and illness.
Donating blood takes about an hour, is almost painless and includes a brief health screening and juice and snacks afterward. The agency is in greatest need of O positive and O negative blood, which together are the most common types. About 40% of the U.S. population has type O positive blood. Although only about 6% of people have type O negative blood, their blood type can be given to anyone in an emergency situation.
United runs blood collection centers in Ventura, Camarillo and Thousand Oaks and also sends out two bloodmobiles throughout Ventura County on weekends. For more information call (800) 715-3699.
* The natural tree that looked so lovely on Christmas morning is probably dried out and shedding its needles by now. If merely stuffed into trash barrels and sent to the landfill, thousands of discarded trees create a logjam and take up space better used for garbage.
The Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department urges residents to recycle their trees instead. That way the trees can be ground up and used as garden mulch.
Residents in all 10 cities can recycle their trees free of charge until Jan. 12 by either setting them out for pick-up by trash haulers or taking them to drop-off sites. About 90,000 holiday trees are expected for recycling this year.
To have your tree picked up for recycling, remove ornaments, tinsel, nails and stands and follow these instructions:
In Camarillo, Fillmore, Oak Park, Ojai, Piru, Somis, Thousand Oaks, Ventura: Cut the tree in half and place it in the yard waste cart on regular collection days.
In Oxnard, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley: Cut the tree in half if it’s more than 6 feet tall and place on the curb on regular collection days. Extra charges apply in Oxnard and Port Hueneme after Jan. 12.
Residents of multifamily complexes should check with their building manager.
Trees may also be dropped off at several locations throughout the county. For more information call 654-3935.