Last year, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wanted to do more than just memorialize victims with speeches. They looked for a way to benefit the community.
"We asked what could we do to remember the victims of 9/11 in a positive way?" said Alam Ali, member of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque in Lynwood, which has members from throughout the Puget Sound area.
The answer was to hold a national blood drive, with a goal of raising 10,000 units of blood, which would help save 30,000 lives, Ali said. The group surpassed its national goal and brought in 11,000 units, he said.
This year, the national group had a goal to bring in 11,000 units of blood, which would save 33,000 lives.
One of the sites Wednesday was at , where a van was parked to take in donors.
Ali said that the local group brought in 100 units of blood last year in the Puget Sound area and this year hoped to triple that amount this year.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is holding 30 blood drives throughout the area, including the one on Wednesday in Bellevue. The group partnered with local cities and police stations.
"Bellevue responded right away," he said.
The group also will hold a blood drive at the group's Lynnwood mosque on Saturday. But to reach the goal, the group needed to reach out to the local non-Muslim community, Ali said.
"One of the tenets we believe as a Muslim is that we believe in community service as a part of our faith. Service to humanity is part of our faith," he said.
"We knew we couldn't reach our goal with one blood drive," he added. "So it was one drive to about 30."
To find other blood drive locations that are part of Muslims for Life, go to the website at http://muslimsforlife.org/