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Desperate need for blood donors, volunteers at Valley food banks

Food Bank
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 08:26:55-04

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, there is a desperate need for blood donors and volunteers at food banks.

At United Food Bank in the East Valley, they are dealing with a string of corporate cancelations, leading to a shortage of volunteers.

"With a corporate group, we would look at 40, 30, 50 people at a time," said Tyson Nansel with United Food Bank. "That would be on a weekly, monthly basis."

The message? Healthy volunteers are needed. "We need more, that's about the easiest way to say it," said Angie Rodgers, President of the Arizona Food Bank Network.

Rodgers told ABC15 the network serves about 450,000 people a month and volunteers are key to making that happen.

"It starts at the top of the food chain," she said. "If we don't have volunteers to help pack boxes, then we don't have boxes to be able to deliver to agencies and then those agencies don't have food to hand out to individuals."

To find a food bank near you, if you'd like to help, CLICK HERE.

Meanwhile, blood donors are also sorely needed.

"The impact of the coronavirus has been huge on our state's blood supply," said Sue Thew, who handles public relations for Vitalant (formerly known as United Blood Services).

"Right here in Arizona, we've had about 41 blood drives cancel since this started."

Thew said some blood types are down to a one or two day supply. Ideally, they would have a four-day blood supply.

"The Valley's two largest children's hospitals alone combined go through about 1,500 life-saving blood transfusions every month. So if you need something to motivate you to donate blood, just look into a child's eyes that's dependent upon blood transfusions."
If you would like to donate blood, you can find more information at the Red Cross and Vitalant.