No shopping, just donating: Mall of America hosts blood drives

The Red Cross held blood drives at the Mall of America amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (FOX 9)

One of the dire consequences of the stay-at-home order is its effect on the blood supply. Blood drives set for schools and other organizations had to cancel, but the Red Cross and the Mall of America got a little creative.

“In response to all of the cancellations the Red Cross has seen with the coronavirus outbreak, the Mall opened their doors and opened their hearts to us, so we can have this great opportunity for our donors to give,” said Sue Thesenga of the Red Cross.

“I’m a teacher,” said Todd Farrington, who came to donate blood. “And we were scheduled to donate a week or so ago, but that got cancelled and this is the first appointment that I could get in. And now is a great time to get out and help anybody.”

There’s plenty of screening. Every donor is checked for a fever and cold symptoms. The med techs also wear masks.

“And then when you come in, as you can see, we’re are social distancing,” said Thesenga. “We’ve spread out our donors, we’ve staggered our appointments, so we don’t have an influx of donors all at the same time.”

It may be happening in a mall named for America, but it’s filled with Minnesota pride.

“It’s weird to be in a place like this and not see thousands of people running around and having a good time,” said Farrington. “But I’m just happy they found a spot where they can pull a drive like this.”

The next three blood drives at MOA are full. The Red Cross says they need you to still make an appointment because they are going to need blood beyond the surge of the pandemic. To make an appointment, click here.