Photos and blog by: Dave Sanchez, Red Cross volunteer 

On a recent visit to the Yakima Red Cross blood Donation Center, we observed a tradition that has been taking place there for a number of years — known as Cheese Sandwich Day. 

On these monthly occasions, blood donors are treated to the now-beloved, custom cheese sandwich developed by local Red Cross personnel. They are served during recovery time, following blood donations, along with traditional drinks and snacks offered to the donors. 

The origin of the tradition surrounding the sandwich is obscure, passed on in time as folklore. The exact recipe is a secret, but includes a mixture of grated cheese, mayonnaise, frozen onion, and herbs. The ingredients are mixed and spread between two slices of bread: one slice white, the other slice wheat. The sandwich is quartered and presented in plastic bags, along with the assorted array of food items and drinks. 

The Red Cross ambassador and food prep specialist insists, tongue in cheek, that the sandwiches are “particularly appealing and beneficial following a donation of blood.” 

Visiting with donors in the lounge and the donation area revealed a dedication observed by several “regulars,” some of whom have been donating blood for periods of years — some for as long as twenty years or more. 

Can’t think of a better way to spend part of a day when seeking a little inspiration, especially in times such as these. 

The Red Cross encourages all eligible individuals to schedule an appointment to give blood by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767), or by enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
American Red Cross Northwest Region

2 thoughts on “Cheese Sandwich Day at the Red Cross

  1. I started my blood donating in Yakima in 1985 when the Red Cross came to West Valley high school. My friends and I donated. The cheese sandwiches were very special. My husband to be also donated blood and we would schedule our donations together. It was a cute lunch date to have the cheese sandwiches after donating.
    I continue to donate at Red Cross now that we live in San Jose, CA. It’s been a 37 year mission and still going.
    I’ve never been able to be in Yakima to donate since the cheese sandwiches have come back.

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