In partnership with the Central Illinois Community Blood Center, the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce will host a blood drive Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m., at 402 Court St., Pekin.


According to Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy McCoy, the blood units collected will be given to the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC). MVRBC is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to 110 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.


"All blood types are currently needed. Each donation provides us with multiple blood products (such as) red cells, plasma and platelets," said Allison Guzman, an associate donor relations consultant for MVRBC. "We need to collect around 3,500 red blood cells each week, which means we need about that many donations."


While all blood types are needed, Guzman added that MVRBC has a critical need for universal donors like O Negative for red blood cells and AB for plasma. The center is also low on O Positive blood, which can be used as a replacement for type O negative red cells during emergencies. Other RH-negative blood types like B Negative and A Negative are also needed because of their relative rarity. Guzman estimated that MVRBC needs 3,500 blood donations a week to fill hospitals’ needs for blood products. Currently, the center is expected to receive about 3,000 donations per week.


"Less than 10 percent of the population gives blood, so there is a constant need," Guzman stated. "Right now due to the Pandemic, that need is even greater because many organizations are not willing or able to host blood drives as they normally would."


To help address that shortfall, the Chamber and the Central Illinois Community Blood Center have set a goal of 15 donations for Tuesday’s drive, according to McCoy


"We would love to have these spots full," she said "I know there are 15 folks in our community who are ready and willing to donate."


Each donor will receive a $5 e-gift card or a t-shirt. To make an appointment, email amy@pekinchamber.com or visit bloodcenter.org.


"A lot of people feel helpless in times of crisis, but this is one way that people can step up and directly help someone whose life is on the line," said Guzman. "Every day in our hospitals, a patient and their families are in crisis and blood transfusions represent hope, a chance at life that cannot be produced without volunteer blood donors. Our blood products help cancer patients, heart patients, those undergoing emergency treatment, mothers and babies and so much more. We also collect Convalescent Plasma that is being used to treat COVID-19 patients in our hospitals."