The Blood Bank of Delmarva is closing its Wilmington donation center on June 27. It will bring mobile blood units to donors instead.
The move was necessitated by last month's sale of the building that has housed the Wilmington center since 2006. Donor volume at the center has been down for several years, according to a blood bank spokesman.
"There's simply less volume of people downtown these days," said Director of Marketing Michael Waite.
In an effort to attract busy younger donors, the blood bank will bring mobile blood teams to workplaces and community centers.
"We don't believe that we're serving the community as well as we can if we could change our business model a little bit," Waite said. "Instead of expecting donors to come to us, we'll go to them. We are finding out that, in basically every place that we go, it's harder and harder for people to come into our centers."
The blood bank will continue to operate its four donation centers in Stanton, Dover, Chadds Ford, Pa., and Salisbury, Md. It will ramp up its mobile blood donation units as well to make donating more convenient for those who can't get to a center.
"This is about us trying to be as handy as we possibly can so people can donate," Waite said. "There are a lot of communities that we're not close to, so we have about 30 semi-permanent locations where we do mobile draws all the time "“ community centers, fire stations."
Blood banks nationally are facing the same issues and making similar moves, Waite said.
"This is a very critical thing that we do, and we really, truly need people to seriously consider donating blood," he said. "We truly need the community."
The nonprofit organization needs 350 donors a day to ensure that more than 20,000 Delmarva patients receive needed blood transfusions annually.