In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S., people all over the country and in Orlando, Florida, have come together to help the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Here's how to reach out to OneBlood donation centers in Orlando and offer help to the more than 50 injured individuals. Update: Reports that policies were changed to allow donations from men who have had sex with men are false. According to Susan Forbes from OneBlood, the organization must follow all requirements in place by the FDA. The FDA formerly had a lifetime ban on donations from men who have had sex with men, but it was recently changed to a ban on donations from men who have had sex with men in the past 12 months. OneBlood is still working to implement that policy. "We’re working as quickly as possible behind the scenes to implement the new policy, and we understand how people want to be able to help, and we thank them, but we have to make sure we have every thing right," Forbes told Bustle.
Earlier: The official OneBlood website has been down for most of the day on Sunday, likely due to an overwhelming amount of traffic from people looking to offer help. The "mass casualties" shooting at Pulse nightclub left the country stunned early Sunday morning when news broke that, in an act of domestic terrorism, 50 people were fatally shot inside the venue.
After Orlando declared a state of emergency, policies were changed to allow gay men to donate blood since OneBlood donation center was in dire need of help from all donors possible. This strategy worked well for getting people to donate at OneBlood, as the center posted on its Facebook page that it had received a "tremendous response by blood donors" in the hours after the tragic event occurred. If you're having trouble accessing the center's website, there are a number of ways to reach out to them by phone and online.
Fortunately, OneBlood reached donor capacity Sunday afternoon, as people from all over the Orlando area visited the center to help the individuals injured in the shooting. Because of this, OneBlood posted messages on social media asking donors to continue donating throughout the week.
You can contact OneBlood by calling 1-888-9-DONATE (1-888-936-6283). OneBlood has asked donors to make appointments to donate blood in the coming days since they have reached capacity. You can do this by calling their main phone number or making an appointment online. There are various OneBlood centers throughout the Orlando area. Here is a list of locations and phone numbers to help you reach out to OneBlood: