Apr 21, 2021

My Visit to Places Where I Could Give Back

By Julia Mortimer

We are thinking about our health now more than ever. It has become a priority to so many, especially during a pandemic. I began to think about ways to give back and help those struggling with COVID-19 and other health issues. When feelings of hopelessness are apparent, it feels good to give back, even if it is in a small way. I decided to dedicate my day to help those who have been affected during this global pandemic. 

I brainstormed a few ways I could personally contribute. Two types of individuals that were most affected include those struggling with the health implications of the virus and small business owners who are struggling financially. I decided to start my day supporting a local restaurant in preparation to give blood for those in need. 

I first began to browse the internet for places to donate blood in Monmouth County. I quickly found that New York Blood Center had a pop-up at Freehold Raceway Mall. I made an appointment online which was fairly easy and only took less than two minutes. 

To ensure I was well-prepared before donating, I treated myself to breakfast at Sissy’s at the Harbor in Atlantic Highlands. If you live in Monmouth County, this is a must-visit spot. It is located on Sandy Hook Bay, right next to the Atlantic Highlands Marina. 

The indoor dining is quaint and lovely. It feels as though you’re in a cottage in Cape May. I always order a hot coffee, which is served in a classic diner mug. The ambiance is so relaxing, as fishermen jokingly banter at the table behind mine. I was delighted to see several people sat at socially distanced tables, providing the restaurant with local business. There was a real sense of community that chain restaurants just can’t provide. 

As I worked my way out of that morning brain fog, I daydreamed while staring out at the water. Docked boats ebbed and flowed in the water next to the restaurant. The Seastreak came in to welcome the morning commuters, and I watched the people go by as I ate my delicious breakfast. After my meal, I was fully satisfied and ready to move on to donate blood.

Giving blood is something I would really love to get into the habit of doing every season. The donation process was so easy. The employees were friendly and welcoming. For many people, getting blood drawn can be an intimidating and nerve-racking process. “Enjoyable” is an adjective you wouldn’t normally use when describing the blood donation process. However, those working at New York Blood Center were so personable that I would consider it an enjoyable experience. It not only was quick and easy, but also felt great to give back.

If your health allows it and it doesn’t make you queasy, donate blood. While you’re at it, treat yourself to a yummy breakfast by the water. We can all do our part to help the community and find ways to enjoy ourselves while doing so.