Morris Center blood drive set for July 29

The Southeast Georgia Chapter, in partnership with The Morris Center, will be hosting a Downtown Savannah Community Blood Drive on Wednesday, July 29 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at The Morris Center, 10 East Broad St.

Blood donors will be tested for COVID antibodies with results available through the ARC App in 7-10 days.

According to Maria Center, Executive Director for the Southeast Georgia Chapter of Red Cross, “We are very grateful to the Morris Center for allowing us to conduct this drive in their beautiful venue. It’s a great location with parking and easy access for the downtown business community. The goal for the Morris Center drive is 60 units of blood, enough to save up to 180 lives.”

“The Morris Center is happy to open our space to Red Cross. There is an urgent need for blood and we want to help,” said The Morris Center’s Kathy Kurazawa.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arrival and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control public guidance.

To schedule an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: SAV.

CAT reducing customer service evening hours this week

Chatham Area Transit is reducing the nightly operating hours for customer service assistance this week.

As a result, customer service will operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon.-Fri., rather than shutting down at 8 p.m. At this time, the weekend schedule will remain 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Customer service can be reached during operating hours by calling (912) 233-5767.

The ticket window also will be open for customer service at the JMR Intermodal Transit Center, 610 W. Oglethorpe Avenue, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. The ticket window is closed on weekends.

On Monday, July 20, CAT also implemented a reduced nightly fixed-route and CAT Mobility service schedule in response to low ridership in the evenings, as a result of most businesses and other destinations closing early during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reduction means that all fixed-route buses and CAT Mobility paratransit vehicles will cease operations by 10 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. Sunday services will continue operating under the regular schedule.

In addition, CAT’s administrative offices at 900 East Gwinnett St. will be closed this week for a deep cleaning after learning Friday that a vendor who worked at the location on July 7 recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Safe Shelter seeks fundraising goal of $300,000

SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services is seeking the community’s help to raise $300,000 to continue serving a growing number of victims of domestic violence in the metro Savannah area during the COVID pandemic.

The organization is currently facing a 35 percent reduction of funding from across-the-board cuts in state aid and the cancellation of all fundraising events.

“Last year we helped more than 1,300 victims, including about 500 children, receive services,” said Cheryl Branch, executive director. “This year, domestic violence calls have risen nearly 20 percent since March in Chatham County due to the COVID virus. If history repeats itself, SAFE Shelter will experience another sharp uptick in the victim population as the summer heat progresses.”

Since 1979, SAFE Shelter has offered lifesaving and life-changing services and programs to victims of domestic violence and their children free of charge. On average, it costs about $150 a week to feed a mother and three children, and that does not include the cost of additional victim assistance like mental, legal and social services.

“For victims of domestic violence, quarantine means there’s nowhere to go.” Branch said. “In up to 60 percent of situations in which there is intimate partner violence, the perpetrator also abuses children in the household.”

SAFE Shelter's annual giving gala was scheduled for November 21 but has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID pandemic. The event typically raises more than $200,000 through corporate sponsorships, live and silent auctions and individual donations.

Savannah Food & Wine Fest pushed to 2021

The Savannah Food & Wine Festival is opting out of a 2020 edition, with plans made for the next installment to be Nov. 8-14 of 2021.

“The festival has successfully provided patrons and participants with a stellar guest experience of the last 8 years,” a spokesperson says. “With so many future unknowns for the rest of the year, the festival has chosen to err on the side of caution and focus efforts on producing another world-renowned event in 2021.”

Purchased tickets will be refunded on request or guests can credit tickets to 2021.

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