Multi-Cultural Program Collects Blood Donations
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Multi-Cultural Program Collects Blood Donations

Sometimes the participants in the multiethnic, multireligious programs sponsored by The Bridge dance together. Sometimes they sing together.

On Sunday they rested. With their arms out.

Some 250 people took part in a five-hour-long blood drive in the two-story, 6,000-square-foot Midwood headquarters of The Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project.

The blood donors noshed on free glatt kosher Chinese food and schmoozed amicably, said Mark Meyer Appel, the advocacy organization’s founder.

“Fifty chasidim, 50 Muslims, black people, Christians … no politics,” he said.

Typical were the donors, above: from left, an Orthodox man, an African-American, and two Muslim women in hijab head coverings.

The blood drive, under the auspices of Maimonides Medical Center, filled 49 beds with volunteers until closing time. “We had to turn people away,” Appel said. “It just blew me away.”

Hafida Torres, president of the Moroccan American Council to Empower Women, said, “As a woman of Muslim faith, I was honored to participate by giving blood jointly with my brethren of Jewish, Christian and other faiths.”

Appel, who established The Bridge two years ago after serving as a real estate investor and member of two advisory boards during the Giuliani administration, called the blood drive “the most successful program” his center has hosted.

The list of some four dozen past programs includes art exhibitions, health care awareness seminars, a jazz night and Halloween party. Future plans include a computer lab, gallery space and TV studio.

The motto of The Bridge is “Unity in Action.”

The blood drive drew so many donors, from so many parts of Brooklyn society, because it was apolitical and served a common need. Injuries and illnesses that require blood donations are “everyone’s problem,” Appel said. “The best networking is … informal. You bring people into a room where they can work on something they can share.”

steve@jewishweek.org

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