Collecting life-saving blood products.

American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa; Learn more: https://www.redcross.org/local/nebraska.html

For over 70 years, people in need have relied on lifesaving blood from the American Red Cross, and we are delivering this vital mission every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of social distancing typical blood collection sites such as churches, schools and blood mobiles have not been utilized. American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa was able to pivot blood collections operations and use alternate collection sites with smaller and more frequent blood drives to collect over 50,000 units in the metro area and 124,000 units in Nebraska during 2020.

Because of the increased need for the number of blood drives, American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa required additional Blood Ambassador volunteers. A Blood Services Donor Ambassador is the first person that a blood donor has contact with at a drive. They greet donors, explain the donation process as necessary and assist with initial intake and hand-offs through the blood donation process as well as provide or explain the important temperature screening. Volunteer Services was able to pivot operations to increase recruitment for this ongoing important and necessary position.

In June 2020 as a public service, the Red Cross was excited to provide COVID-19 antibody testing of all blood, platelet and plasma donations made at blood drives and donation centers across the country. We know that individuals and public health organizations in our community are eager to learn more about COVID-19, and the Red Cross is fortunate to be able to offer our blood donors insight.

COVID-19 has not changed the Red Cross mission. The American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa continues to respond quickly, and act as needed by the community during this pandemic.