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American Red Cross asks for more volunteers

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 6:21 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The pandemic has highlighted the importance of blood donations across the country. In central Nebraska the American Red Cross has seen people step up to the plate but they still need some help.

Despite the weather Tuesday, the Red Cross still held their blood drive in Hastings. This is normally the time of year when they see a decline in blood donations due to people being away on vacation or busy during the holidays. But people have been making sure there isn’t a shortage during the pandemic.

“The people of Nebraska have really stepped up and in the United States stepped up and helped,” said Rachelle Lipker, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Central and Western Nebraska. “The need for blood is constant. Every two seconds someone in America needs blood or blood products and this COVID-19 has really proven that.”

Winter is often slow due to schools being closed where drives usually take place. With schools closed to the public most of the year, the Red Cross has found a way around that to have consistent blood drives.

“We’ve been really fortunate because most every location where we have the blood drive, even if the building has been closed, we’ve asked for an exception to their building policy and they’ve said for the blood drive we’ll go ahead and have you in,” Account Manager Stephanie Mousel said.

There is a big need for more volunteers. They need people to work the registration as well as train for the disaster response team.

“This can be done from the convenience of your home by working this blood drive,” Lipker said. “You’d maybe be calling some donors, you would be helping set up some things. Then the day of the blood drive you would actually go to the blood drive site.”

The Red Cross is providing COVID antibody testing on blood donations to see if the plasma can be used for COVID treatments in area hospitals. The convalescent plasma has been used as treatment for COVID patients who are severely sick in the hospital. People can find out if they have the antibodies after they donate on the donor portal.

The Red Cross said they are in great need of volunteers in Hastings, Hebron, and York.

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