LUBBOCK, Texas– After a senseless mass shooting in El Paso on Saturday, killing 20 people and injuring 27 others, a blood donation center opened their doors during off-hours to help.
Vitalant opened on Sunday for five hours to collect blood after supplies dwindled at hospitals in El Paso during attempts to help the shooting victims.
Hospitals in El Paso used 367 units of blood to help victims, according to Brandon Baker, the Senior Recruitment Manager of Vitalant. When he realized there was a growing shortage, he said they shipped units of blood from the Lubbock center to help.
“After the catastrophe, the blood donated is for replenishing and continuing blood needs locally and wherever the event is,” said Baker.
Vitalant employees and Lubbock citizens didn’t hesitate when asked to come in and help. In four hours, 57 people donated.
Ernest Elizondo is a Vitalant employee who volunteered his time on Sunday. As an El Paso native, this was important to him.
“What happened in El Paso hits home for me, and I want to do whatever I can to help my home,” said Elizondo. “Whatever the issue is, we are here to help each other.”
After traumatic events, Baker said they typically see an increase in donors the following weeks. While he is grateful for all the donations, he said there is always a need for blood and encouraged people to continue to donate throughout the year.
“It’s the blood on the shelves when the event happens that saves those lives. There is a window of testing between 24-36 hours. It’s important he blood is there,” he said.
To make a donation appointment, go to the Vitalant website here. They also accept walk-ins.