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St. Paul ‘Extreme Makeover’: food and blood drives, too

While the Morris family of St.

While the Morris family of St. Paul is on a cruise and thousands of volunteers are building them a new home for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show, officials are using the opportunity to run food and blood drives.

Spectators who flock (in rain gear) to the building site at 226 Prescott St., on St. Paul’s West Side (across the river from downtown), are asked to bring a non-perishable food item as admission to watch the filming of the ABC-TV show.

The goal is to collect 25,000 pounds of supplies for the food shelf at the nearby Neighborhood House.

A blood drive is also being held in connection with the show. The American Red Cross is hosting its usual array of blood drives around the area, including an effort from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 at Neighborhood House. The goal for the week at all the sites is 4,800 blood and 475 platelet donations.

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Eligible donors can call call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or go online here to find a blood drive and schedule an appointment for the week of blood drives.

Some background on the Morris family and why they were selected to get a new home on the show:

Sixteen years ago, Sandy Morris was pregnant with her first child and working as an early childhood education teacher. After the birth of her daughter, Catricia, Sandy examined her daycare options and discovered that none of them met her standards. Sandy decided to quit her job and start her own daycare in the community where she’d grown up. Because most high-quality daycares were too expensive for her neighbors, Sandy found ways to run her daycare at a lower cost and charges just enough to support herself and her family. She also offers a multicultural environment to these children, who affectionately call her “Tia Sandy.”

Sandy’s dedication to her daycare and her community has produced one of the best daycares in the city. Unfortunately, Sandy runs her daycare out of their 100-year-old home, which is falling apart. The numerous repairs needed to make the home safe threaten to shut down the daycare. Now it’s up to Ty and the designers to build Sandy, 40, her daughter Catricia, 15, and her son Mychal, 12, a safe home that is a sanctuary for their family and will enable Sandy’s daycare to remain a center of community life and education.