Staff Report

Responding to an urgent need for blood, platelet, and convalescent plasma donations, the Vikings of Solvang have expanded their next blood drive to span two days, March 9 and 10, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Solvang Elementary School gym.

Each donor will receive a $25 voucher for dinner at participating local restaurants. 

Professionals with Vitalant Blood Services will again handle the work involved in drawing blood, with special care for disinfection of all furniture and materials between donations.

“The need for blood, platelet, and convalescent plasma donations is ongoing even during this pandemic,” said Vicki Wolfe, communications manager for Vitalant. “People are still getting into accidents, being diagnosed with cancer or COVID-19, and having complications during childbirth.”

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, the number of blood donations overall has dropped, Wolfe said. Thousands of blood drives have been canceled because of school and business shutdowns and the shift to a remote lifestyle, she added.

If donors have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, their convalescent plasma donation may be able to help patients currently fighting the virus, according to Vitalant. Additionally, Vitalant tests all blood and patient donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

Donors must be healthy and at least 18 years old. They also must wear masks. Each person’s temperature will be checked upon arrival, and donation chairs will be spaced six or more feet apart.

Walk-ins are welcome, but Vitalant urges donors to make reservations online in advance. This not only saves the donor time but limits contact with others during in-person registration.

To make an appointment to donate, go to, click on “Donate Blood,” and search by Solvang’s zip code (93463). Then choose either the March 9 or 10 blood drive listed as “Solvang Vikings Large Hall.”

The $25 dinner voucher, redeemable that night at participating local restaurants, is courtesy of the Vikings with help from the participating local restaurants.

 “The Vikings rely on the generous people in the Santa Ynez Valley for a successful blood drive,” said Richard Kline, this year’s Viking chief. “The free dinner is our way to thank you for your support — and for your donation of blood for those who need it.”

Donors are asked to eat something and drink plenty of water before arriving, and to bring photo identification. For more information, call Blood Drive Chairman Kim Jensen at 805-266-8768.

The Vikings of Solvang are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides help for the medically related needs of qualified people and organizations in Santa Barbara County, with a goal of improving everyone’s quality of life.

For more information about the Vikings, go to