Austin-based blood bank We Are Blood is seeking to expand its reach throughout Central Texas.
Ahead of Amplify Austin day, the city’s annual day of giving on Feb. 28, the nonprofit is promoting a fundraiser to help fund a new mobile blood bus. Although the fundraiser is open year-round, We Are Blood’s goal is to boost those efforts by raising $20,000 from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1.
“People don’t necessarily think to give monetarily, especially when donors are giving blood,” We Are Blood spokesperson Phillip Lybrand said.
A new bus could allow the organization to provide an additional 150 drives per year and expand into more outer-lying communities in Central Texas.
“When we run into situations when there’s awful weather and people don’t want to drive, it causes unexpected dips at our fixed donation sites,” Lybrand said. “The mobile drives pick up that slack.”
More than 50 percent of We Are Blood’s blood donations come from the organization’s five daily mobile drives that are held across 10 Central Texas counties, according to We Are Blood. These drives are scheduled to keep blood supplies in the area at safe levels, which amount to about 200 donations per day, Lybrand said.
Just after Amplify Austin Day, We Are Blood expects to face a donation shortage for a longer period of time than usual. This year, the spring break week for Austin ISD and The University of Texas at Austin do not line up with South by Southwest Conference and Festivals.
“Especially this year, when those two weeks don’t overlap, we have two troublesome weeks in March,” Lybrand said. “A lot of people in Austin leave town to not deal with South by Southwest or to travel for spring break. At the same time, a lot of people come from out of town which leads to an increased probability for a need for blood.”
Additional drives from a new bus would mean We Are Blood could reach 4,000 new donors per year, according to the organization. Since 2015 We Are Blood has added nearly 400 new blood drive locations.