CHRISTIANA, Del. — Blood Bank of Delmarva is calling on the community to make appointments to visit donor centers as COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the process of donating blood. Before COVID-19, mobile blood drives hosted by high schools, colleges, businesses and other organizations made up about 40% of the region’s incoming blood supply, but the number of blood drives has dropped by two-thirds this year due to the pandemic.
The upcoming school year presents new and unprecedented challenges. Blood donations are typically lower during the summer and the return to school usually helps make up the difference and stabilize the blood supply. In the past, school and college drives have resulted in 8,000 blood donations during each school year.
“The pandemic is forcing us to rethink the entire landscape, which means encouraging donors to take the extra step of making an appointment and traveling to a donor center. The loss of young donors is a particular challenge because our future blood supply is dependent on these first-time donors becoming lifetime donors,” said Andrea H. Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director of Recruitment & Marketing for Blood Bank of Delmarva. “We’ve always relied on the fall to provide a boost in blood donations from high school and college students hosting drives and this year we know this relief will not be coming.”
BBD began hosting a limited number of drives again this summer, however they are far from the number of drives per month needed to support area hospitals. BBD is encouraging eligible donors of all ages to adapt to this new normal by making appointments to visit one of its 4 donors centers, which have expanded capacity and hours of operation in order to safely accommodate more donors.
In anticipation of lost high school and college blood drives, BBD is also asking student leaders and organizations to donate as groups in our donor centers. Those interested in bringing groups in are asked to please email Director of Donor Recruitment Marie Forrestal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate a propensity for bringing in donors.
Blood from volunteer donors is needed every two seconds to help meet the daily transfusion needs of cancer and surgery patients, accident and burn victims, newborns and mothers delivering babies, AIDS and sickle cell anemia patients, and many more.
- To make an appointment to donate blood, visit here.
- BBD also needs more partners to step up and help host drives in large venues. If you have a space available and would like to host a blood drive, please contact Forrestal at email@example.com.
- For information on the extra precautions being taken to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19, visit here.
The Epworth United Methodist Church is planning to have a blood drive on Monday, August 24 from 3 – 7 PM.