The 100 Ways to Give, 100 Days to Give event ended on Saturday with a blood drive.

Through this blood drive, other businesses in the downtown area got involved. Each business was paired with a charity.

Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli collected for Golden Harvest Food Bank, Aiken Dry Goods for Equine Rescue, Threads for the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, Plum Pudding for Golden Harvest Food Bank, Equine Divine for Aiken SPCA, Tea Garden Gifts for Area Churches Together Serving, Aiken Antique Mall for Toys for Tots, and Lionel Smith Ltd. for Helping Hands. The Aiken Center for the Arts hosted a giving tree to support its various programs.

This event came about due to many nonprofits not receiving the donations they need around the holidays.

“I was talking with Jane [Thompson] and she mentioned she was busy campaigning and talking to local organizations” said Cutter Mitchell, owner of Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli. “She found out that they don’t get as many donations around Christmas. I’m on the board of the Aiken Downtown Development Association and reached out to them and thought we could do this event. The goal is to have 26 pints donated.”

Blood donations are also lower around the holidays, so the American Red Cross decided to get involved.

“We go through a critical time of blood during the holiday season, and Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli thought it would make people aware of the need for the holiday season,” said Jennifer Parrott, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross. “You can donate every 56 days and all blood types are always needed.”

There was some controversy at the event, however, when Jane Page Thompson displayed some political signs regarding her campaign for probate judge during the blood drive.

Thompson was asked to take them down because the American Red Cross’ code of ethics states that the organization is prohibited from any sort of promotion of partisan politics.

This is the first year this event has taken place.

“I hope this becomes an annual event because it’s very inspiring,” Mitchell said.

This community blood drive was all about giving back to the community, something Thompson said she hoped this event would do.

“We partnered up charities with downtown businesses. It’s a great way to get people out in the community and to give back to the community,” Thompson said.