The pandemic is causing critical shortages for the sole supplier of blood and blood products to more than 120 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Claire DeRoin, the spokeswoman for LifeServe Blood Center, says they urgently need help making up for the thousands of blood donations lost due to COVID-19-related cancellations.

“We have seen more than 500 blood drives cancel,” DeRoin says. “That’s due to factors like it’s a school and the students weren’t there, or it’s a business where the people are working remotely.”

The loss of 500-plus blood drives translates to missing out on more than 13,000 blood donations. As we approach the summer season, the demand for blood typically increases as more people are traveling and taking part in outdoor activities, elevating the possibility for accidents and injuries.

“Since hospitals are also ramping back up their elective surgeries, that need for blood is rising in that aspect as well,” DeRoin says. “Quite a few of our blood types are either in the ‘critical’ or ‘urgent’ need this week, which is not great. We would love to have a five-day supply of every blood type on our shelves at all times but some of them are dwindling below two.”

Walk-in blood donors are -not- being taken due to the pandemic, but people are very much encouraged to call and make an appointment to donate blood. “If you are eligible to donate or if you’ve never given it a try, now is an excellent time to do so,” DeRoin says. “We have donor centers in Des Moines, Urbandale, Ames, Mason City, Marshalltown, Sioux City and Fort Dodge, so we have a lot of donor centers around the state. We’re also looking for folks to host a blood drive.”

Organizations, businesses, churches, and community groups that have a space and can provide donors are urged to contact LifeServe to set up a blood drive — which is free. Learn more by calling 800-287-4903 or visit