SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An event that will surely save lives happened Monday in downtown Sioux Falls.

The Community Blood Bank is a joint cooperative between Sanford and Avera, and every drop stays local.

“Built up partnerships with different small community hospitals and now we’re at 36 hospitals that we provide blood to,” Community Blood Bank Executive Director Ken Versteeg said.

Executive Director Ken Versteeg says the organization added a third bloodmobile last year to keep up with demand in Sioux Falls and will see more new donors as we transition into fall.

“We see less community events taking place and we see more of our high school and colleges providing blood to our communities, so a lot of first-time donors stepping forward and donating blood for the first time,” Versteeg said.

How important is every donation? About 550 units of blood are needed every week to meet the need of our local hospitals.

“Right now, we’re holding our own but I always say represent your own blood type, whether you know your blood type or not, we’re always looking for that general blood type,” Versteeg said.

“I feel it’s a good way for me to give back to the community and surrounding areas to help other people,” Sioux Falls resident Todd Balzer said.

Todd Balzer is a recently retired Sioux Falls firefighter. He gives blood every three months.

“Not time-consuming at all, you can get it done on your lunch break or any time, so very minimal pain, it’s a quick little poke and then the pain’s done and they do a great job,” Balzer said.

If you’re still on the fence about giving blood, Versteeg says think about the donation’s final destination.

“Several of my family members have used blood through the years and without people coming forward and providing that life saving blood, I don’t know what we’d do,” Versteeg said.

Highlighting the importance of every blood drive.

Donors received a Scooters gift certificate and 40-ounce stainless steel tumbler during Monday’s event.

If you’d like to give blood, click HERE to visit the Community Blood Bank’s donation page.