BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — Students are rolling up their sleeves for a cause.

Every fall, the Bloodmobile can be spotted at an increasing number of schools.

“Our older population is not able to donate like they used to, so we need to encourage our younger people to start donating. We need to tap into our 20-, 30-, and 40-year-olds who have never given,” phlebotomist Pam Sandro said.

Sandro has worked for the Community Blood Bank for 44 years. Thursday, the Bloodmobile made a stop at Brandon Valley High School.

“We want to make sure that the kids are comfortable and they have a good experience because then we know they’re going to continue to give the rest of their lives,” Sandro said.

“I just want to help people as much as I can. I know I can’t like be physically out there in the field, but if I can help with my school then that saves a life,” Brandon Valley junior Emeline Risty said.

Risty helped organize the two-day event on the students’ end. She donated blood yesterday and has this advice for students who have yet to give blood.

“It’s not as bad as it seems; it’s always scary the first time because you don’t really know what you’re doing but once you do it again it gets better,” Risty said.

“We like to tell them where the blood goes from here, how we take it back to the hospitals, how you save four lives by giving blood because of how we separate the red cells and the plasma and the platelets. Different people can use your one unit of blood so I think they like to know that process,” Sandro said.

The Community Blood Bank needs 550 units of blood every week to meet the needs of local hospitals, meaning every event counts.

“This blood that’s given today will probably be gone in a week or two. The turnaround is very, very quick, unfortunately, even though the blood is good for 42 days, it won’t be on the shelf that long,” Sandro said.

If you’d like to sign up for a future blood drive, click HERE.