By Lindsey Amick
With the growing number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, blood donations have never been more important to San Antonio’s community blood supply. An unprecedented partnership between local car washes is working to assist the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, as Bubble Bath Car Wash and six other car wash chains in San Antonio spring into action with the DRIVE 4 LIFE blood donation initiative. Beginning April 1, through April 30, all blood donors will receive vouchers from the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center for one free car wash, valid until June 30.
“Just as many others right now, I was feeling helpless in the face of COVID-19, asking myself what can I do and how can I help—and that’s when the DRIVE 4 LIFE initiative was created,” said Nicholas Lopez, president of Bubble Bath Car Wash. “I’d seen the plea for blood donations and had even seen some fellow businesses working to spread the message, but no concerted efforts. I felt we needed to help our city encourage blood donations on a large scale, so I turned to my fellow San Antonio car wash leaders, who were fast acting and eager to get involved. With the help of the extraordinary team at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, we are very proud to see this initiative come to fruition. In uncertain times, there is solace and a sense of hope that comes from doing our part.”
Other participating car washes include Pirate’s Cove Car Wash, Rapid Express Car Wash, Scrub-A-Doo Car Wash, Super Sudz Car Wash, WaterWorks Car Wash and Zips Car Wash. In addition to providing free car washes to donors, these business leaders are also pledging to donate and provide recognition to their team members who do the same.
“In times like these, it’s so important to come together and remember that we’re in this together. Bubble Bath is a family-owned operation, as are many of our partners on this initiative,” said Larry Lopez, founder and CEO. “We are here right alongside you as our community braves this difficult time. Any way you can help those in need is important. Together, we will overcome this crisis as a united and strong community.”
DRIVE 4 LIFE was created in response to the critical blood shortage in San Antonio and South Texas amid Coronavirus (COVID-19). Reports of South Texas’ blood shortages were released as early as January, but as news of the virus spread, mass blood drive cancellations and fears surrounding the safety of giving blood have perpetuated a fragile blood supply.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, but also on the precipice of a secondary health crisis with the depleted blood supply locally, regionally and nationally. Efforts such as DRIVE 4 LIFE are critical to keeping our community healthy and safe throughout COVID-19 and beyond,” said South Texas Blood & Tissue Center CEO Elizabeth Waltman. “I applaud these businesses for finding strength in unity and for making such a large gesture at a time when small businesses, as well as all of us, are feeling the overwhelming impacts and economic implications of these times.”
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is dedicated to preserving donors’ health and safety during COVID-19. They have instituted extensive sanitization measures in their facilities, limiting the number of non-essential visitors and screening all donors by taking their temperatures and conducting mini health screenings. STBTC is also asking additional questions regarding donors’ health and travel history, as well as practicing social distancing at all blood drive events and in their facilities.
Blood donation is considered an essential activity and is not just allowed during the shelter-in-place order but also encouraged. Donation appointments can be made at any of the seven South Texas Blood & Tissue Center locations, as well as at any one of their organized blood drives at various community facilities, by visiting SouthTexasBlood.org or by calling 210-731-5590.
If DRIVE 4 LIFE proves to be successful locally, Bubble Bath Car Wash intends to help it grow into a national industry-wide effort.
Lopez states, “If this can save lives here in San Antonio, we’re going to pass this model along to the National Car Wash Association and other car wash owners across the country in hopes that it will help their communities as well. Now is a time for unity. We will get through this challenging time as a united community, one country, one world. It is that team spirit that will see us through this to better days ahead.”
### About South Texas Blood & Tissue Center The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is a nonprofit community blood center that provides blood, plasma, platelets and other blood components to 100 hospitals in 48 South Texas counties. It is the largest blood supplier in our region. In addition, it recovers and distributes donated human tissue for transplant. STBTC has a 45-year history serving the South Texas community. It is part of the BioBridge Global family of nonprofit organizations, which offers services in regenerative medicine and research including blood banking and resource management; cellular therapy; umbilical cord blood collection and storage; and testing of blood and plasma products to help patients in the United States and worldwide. STBTC has seven donor rooms in South Texas and conducts hundreds of mobile blood drives each year. STBTC is online at SouthTexasBlood.org.
About Bubble Bath Car Wash Bubble Bath Car Wash, owned and operated by eleventh generation San Antonians, is dedicated to providing customers with an outstanding car wash experience. Founded in 2005, the company provides fast, state-of-the-art and eco-friendly services, including the use of 100 percent biodegradable chemicals, solar panels and reclamation and reuse of water. Home of the “Best Three-Minute Wash”, Bubble Bath Car Wash operates five locations in San Antonio. Their customer-first philosophy, environmentally friendly initiatives and strong community involvement have made them San Antonio’s favorite car wash experience. To learn more about Bubble Bath Car Wash, visit thebubblebathcarwash.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @BubbleBathCW.