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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pint for pint

It’s universally acknowledged what people would do for a Klondike bar, but what would they do for a pint of beer? Would they go as far as giving a pint of blood?

Illustration by Nikki Swift
Illustration by Nikki Swift

Bloodworks Northwest is teaming up with Boundary Bay Brewery to incentivize blood donors – of legal age – with $5 vouchers to the brewery.

Pint for a Pint is offering vouchers to those who donate a pint of blood from Feb. 16 to 20. The event is based on a first-come, first-serve basis, as Boundary Bay donated 100 total vouchers for the cause.

Although this is the first time Pint for a Pint is being put on in Bellingham, the fundraiser is not the first of its kind. Bloodworks Northwest has previously partnered with breweries in Oregon to donate similar business vouchers. Outside of Washington, Bloodworks Northwest  has centers in Alaska and Oregon, serving nearly 90 hospitals in total.

Jason Hess, a supervisor at Bloodworks Northwest’s Bellingham center, expressed a great need for donors because their location changed two years ago. They were originally located in Sunset Square off Sunset Boulevard, but are now located further north on West Bakerview Road.

“Since the move, our participation has dropped off quite a bit,” Hess said. “This is just one way for us to reintroduce ourselves to the community and offer our donors, who have been so supportive, something in return for their donation.”

Jenny Schmidt, events manager for Boundary Bay, has been working at the brewery for the last 18 months and is a member of the donation committee. She first connected with the owners of Boundary Bay, Janet Lightner and Casey Diggs, through her nonprofit work at beer festivals, she said.

She previously worked as the event planner for the Max Higbee Center in Bellingham, which provides recreational activities for teens and adults with developmental disabilities. This center also puts on April Brews Day, a large fundraiser for their organization. Schmidt said in an email that Lightner and Diggs were vital contributors to this event with donations, advice and human power.

“They have pretty phenomenal hearts and are really attached to this community,” Schmidt said.

In 2014, Boundary Bay was named as Washington’s Philanthropic Small Business of the Year. This is just one of over 100 awards the brewery has received to date for both its beer and business practices, according to Boundary Bay’s website.

It is also ranked as the largest brewpub in Washington, according to the New Brewer Industry Review. With the sheer size of its resources, the brewery often offer its services and venue to local organizations and groups throughout the year, as seen on their events calendar.

For example, the brewery hosted a benefit concert and fashion show last October. This was put on for the Northwest Straits chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, an organization committed to ocean conservation. It also put on a haunted house and show this past Halloween called “The Nightmare on Railroad.” All of the proceeds were donated to Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth.

Schmidt said the Boundary Bay’s owners are frequently willing to lend their services to the community.

“Anytime someone comes looking for either a donation or just some feedback on an event, how to make it more exciting, nine times out of 10 they say ‘yes’ in a heartbeat,” she said.

Not only does Boundary Bay work on making an impact in the community, they also share the same compassion for its 90 or so employees, Nazari said.

Ari Nazari is a senior at Western who has worked as a hostess at the brewery since July, 2015. She was unaware of just how involved Boundary Bay is until a couple months into working there.

“Not only do they work with the community, but they treat their employees extremely well,” Nazari said. “It’s like a big family there. I love it.”

Around that same time last summer, Boundary Bay celebrated its 20th anniversary, complete with a marching band parading through the restaurant and a live musical performances in the beer garden.

“I think it is so important for our community to support these endeavors, and helping each other out is just good business all around,” General Manager and owner of Boundary Bay Brewery Janet Lightner said. “Here in Bellingham we have so many great nonprofits, adding such character and heart to our community.”

Bloodworks Northwest is hoping this incentive-based partnership will encourage donors who haven’t been as frequent to offer their services since the location change. Hess is also working with Aslan Brewery to negotiate details of potential future events.

*Editor’s note: Ari Nazari was previously a reporter for The Western Front

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