Community Blood Bank in need of donors: ‘We are in dire straits right now’


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A blood bank that serves more than 30 hospitals needs your help right now.

The blood supply at the Community Blood Bank in Sioux Falls is critically low.

Debra DeVaney is no stranger to the blood donor room.

Getting into the habit of donation blood happened in a way you might not expect.

Nearly four decades ago, the Sioux Falls woman was visiting a hospital when a worker asked her if she was interested in giving blood.

“And I really didn’t want to, so I said I was kind of in a hurry and she said, ‘Here’s a card for McDonald’s for a Mac meal. Enjoy.’ I walked away and I went and go the Mac meal and the next think I knew I was back the next week giving blood,” Donor Debra DeVaney said.

She’s been doing it ever since.

No matter what inspires you to give blood, the Community Blood Bank just wants your help.

“We are in dire straits right now,” Community Blood Bank Executive Director Ken Versteeg said.

There are multiple factors behind the shortage.

One of them is people may be apprehensive about going out in public.

Executive Director Ken Versteeg says people shouldn’t fear giving blood.

“Our staff members actually disinfect every single chair in between donations. We wipe it completely down. Our common areas in between donations are wiped down. We wear masks and we ask donors to wear a mask during their donation time,” Versteeg said.

Versteeg says the blood supply is at one of its lowest points in nearly 20 years.

“Without people coming in to give, we’re going to continue to see this for weeks on end and we don’t want to do that. We want to be able to make sure that we have what we need in the hospital system because honestly the blood supply is one of the foundations for us to be able to treat patients,” Versteeg said.

That’s why he’s hoping more people like DeVaney come forward.

“I think it helps others, and I think it’s a way of giving back to our community and more,” DeVaney said.

Other reasons for the low supply include elective surgeries picking back up, and the blood bank having to cut back on the number of donors it can see in a day for social distancing purposes.

If you want to donate blood, you can set up an appointment at one of the Avera or Sanford locations or you can take part in a community blood drive.

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