The Kansas City, Mo.-based Community Blood Center on Saturday closed its Lawrence walk-in center, 1410 Kasold Drive.
Now, if residents want to donate life-saving blood, they need to wait for a blood drive or visit a nearby Community Blood Center in Topeka, Overland Park or Olathe.
Stann Tate, director of marketing, said the economic slump caused the nonprofit to evaluate business, and Lawrence was targeted because of a lack of donations.
Tate said the 11-year-old center accounts for only 2 percent of the approximately 150,000 annual donations. The company supplies blood and blood products to more than 70 hospitals throughout the region, including Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Tate said the company plans blood drives here, adding that the best way to schedule an appointment to give blood is through its Web site, savealifenow.org.
Tate said the need for blood and blood products in the region has decreased this year.
But, Faith Nilhas, blood bank supervisor at LMH, said that’s not the case.
“Our need has pretty much stayed stable over the last year. So the need is still there for us,” she said.
LMH uses about 175 pints of blood a month.
“If they are saying they will meet that need with more mobile collections, then I guess that’s OK as long as we don’t see that we are having problems getting blood,” Nilhas said. “I just think it’s important for people in this area to know that we do still need donors and I hope they go to wherever the mobile blood drive is that is most convenient.”
The hospital offers a blood drive about every 56 days, which is how often people can donate. The next drive will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday in the LMH auditorium, 325 Maine. To schedule an appointment call 505-6176 or click on savealifenow.org and enter sponsor code lawrencehosp. People also can stop by to donate.
Jane Blocher, director of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, said she would miss the center.
“It was nice to have the option of referring those who wanted to give blood immediately over to the Community Blood Center instead of having them wait until one of our drives were available.”
She added that the need for “blood is always critical.”