San Diegans took time to donate blood at the first San Diego Cares Holiday Blood Drive.
San Diegans took time to donate blood at the first San Diego Cares Holiday Blood Drive in December 2017. Photo by Chris Stone

As the official start to summer approaches this week, the San Diego Blood Bank hopes to inspire people to donate during their Third Annual Padres Summer Blood Drive.

Donors over 17 years old can participate on June 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members of the Pad Squad team and the Swinging Friar mascot will be there to entertain attendees.

Those who give blood during the drive will receive a voucher for two free tickets to see the Padres play the Baltimore Orioles on either July 29 or 30. They will also get a parking pass and VIP access to the Padres autograph booth on game day.

Claudine Van Gonka, public relations manager, said donations tend to dwindle during the summer months because schools, which regularly host drives, are out of session.

“As summer approaches, people tend to go on vacation. They’re not available for blood donation, or at least it’s not at the top of their mind,” Van Gonka said.

She added that about 20 percent of blood that is collected in San Diego is from high schools and colleges. In addition, more blood is needed because there’s a tendency for there to be more accidents during the warmer months of the year.

“Summertime always just tends to be a time where we need more blood than any other,” Van Gonka said.

Last year, the bank received 350 donations during the Padres Summer Blood Drive. Organizers aim to surpass that mark this year.

Appointments are available for anyone who wants to sign up online in advance. The event will be held at Petco Park’s Park at the Park.

Petco Park San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone