More than 30 tornadoes were reported in the region. At least 50 people were killed in Kentucky, and six people in Illinois, four in Tennessee and two in Arkansas had died from the storms, officials said.
The blood bank was able to send 14 units of universal blood that will help hospitals in the region.
The center is a partner in the national Blood Emergency Readiness Corp (BERC), a network of 16 local blood centers across 29 states, which collects extra blood that is held in reserve for critical need situations like mass shootings and natural disasters.
In addition to serving BERC, the blood centers also serve Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. It’s also the exclusive blood provider to the Moffitt Cancer Center.
“The nation’s blood supply is very, very tight,” said Steve Malave, SunCoast Blood Centers’ Director of Community Relations. “It’s a precarious situation. The reality is only 3% of the population donates to help the 97% of the rest who don’t.”
Malave said there’s a constant need for blood donors, and is urging people in the community to come in and donate blood.
“We need folks to come out and donate blood there’s a constant need, but especially when we have a natural disaster or a natural calamity or even a mass shooting,” he said. “We need to be able to provide blood.”
Malave said hospitals were scrambling to find 441 units of blood after the Pulse Shooting in Orlando, so the center wants to be proactive and have blood ready for when emergencies like that hit.
To learn more about donating, call 1-866-97-BLOOD or visit their website suncoastblood.org. A list of donation locations is available here.