Blood donations sought as Iowa center sends help to southern hurricane area

Alpha Media and LifeServe Blood Center is having an “Operation Lifesaver” blood drive going on this afternoon until 5:00 PM at Southbridge Mall in Mason City. All blood donors will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last.

MASON CITY — Iowa-based LifeServe Blood Center is appealing for donors as it’s on-call through a national network to provide blood anywhere it’s needed as the hurricane that hit Florida on Wednesday is now a tropical storm heading up the East Coast. LifeServe spokeswoman Danielle West says they’ve been in close contact with blood centers across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, all of which felt — or are feeling — the impact of Idalia.

“They did not mention as many injuries as much as damage, so it’s more about if the blood center can continue to function and collect blood, then they may not need ours,” West says. “They’re assessing that right now and ensuring that all of their team members can still make it into work and they can still function as a blood center.” In addition to widespread power outages, there’s damage from the powerful winds, as well as heavy rains and flash flooding. West says blood centers in cities that were hit by the monster storm are regrouping and determining what they need.

“They want to make sure that they can sustain what they’ve already worked out with their local hospitals,” West says. “They’re keeping us posted. As far as we know, we have not sent blood products to them yet, but we still have O positive and O negative set aside, and we’re technically on call through Sunday of this week.” Monday is a holiday and LifeServe offices won’t be open for donations, so they’re working to continue stocking up now, as the summertime has been challenging for donations.

“We have not seen the number of blood donors that we would like to see to support our hospitals,” West says. “We’re lower in almost every blood type then we’d want to be, A positive, B positive, all of our negative blood types, of course the Os, so truly if you’re a blood donor, if you’ve never donated blood before, we absolutely need you.”

LifeServe has multiple offices in the Des Moines metro, as well as in Ames, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Mason City, Pella and Sioux City. LifeServe provides blood products to 161 hospitals primarily in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. To schedule a visit, call 800.287.4903 or log on to