Life-Giving Satisfaction

Sister Carla and Sister Elizabeth Ann Schneider often
volunteered together at the MVRBC canteen -
even bringing along some homemade treats for donors.

By Sister Carla Takes, CHM

“How Life Flows Through Our Community” is the motto of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), the largest nonprofit organization in Iowa. My first introduction to the MVRBC was many years ago when I was a blood donor myself. Later, when I could no longer donate, I volunteered one day a week in the canteen. Starting in 2002, for over a decade, I served refreshments to donors and was attentive to the possibility of them having an adverse reaction. When transportation became a problem, I was offered to do the John Deere Blood Drive by phone from where I live. That fits the bill perfectly for me.

In order to take advantage of a captive group of eligible and prospective blood donors, I attempt to contact employees from among the John Deere Headquarters for blood drives three to four times a year. The MVRBC has the technicians and the facility and John Deere has the where-with-all to provide the blood. The joint effort produces amazing results.

A mobile unit from from the Blood Center is set up at John Deere. The blood draw begins at 7 a.m., has open times at five minute intervals with the last draw of blood at 10:25 a.m. I have the privilege of calling these people at their work place to set up appointments – I try not to interrupt their business for very long. The people whose names I have are loyal donors of men and women. Some have exceeded 100 units of blood. I know they will donate if it is possible. Prospective donors are always interested in how much blood they have already given. I told one person his record shows that he had given 112 units. He was shocked and said, “Gosh, I’m surprised I am still alive!”

For each blood drive a projected goal is established and by the time I turn over my phase of the work, I have about 30 solid appointments. I always plan on a week to get my share of the work done and I report my volunteer hours to RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program). This organization promotes and increases volunteerism and the potential for making a difference in the lives of people and communities.

I feel a great satisfaction that I can be involved in this humanitarian activity that is life-giving.

Sister Carla lighting the advent wreath at
Humility of Mary Center's Magnificat Chapel
Lucille Catherine Takes was born in Cascade, Iowa, in 1925.  She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1954 and made her final profession in 1960 receiving the religious name Mary Carla. Her life as a Sister of Humility was one focused on a ministry in education. Starting in 1960 Sister Carla was director of student services at Ottumwa Heights College for ten years and then the registrar for another ten. She was the registrar at Assumption High School from 1979 to 1995. From 1998 to 2002 she worked in the library at Marycrest International University until her retirement.