VISIT Milwaukee to host Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives 

Hospitality venue partners have stepped up to donate space for a series of blood drives in partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin on behalf of Aurora Health Care  

MILWAUKEE (April 9, 2020) – In a show of community support, VISIT Milwaukee announced today that, in partnership with area venues, it will host a series of Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives beginni ng April 14. VISIT Milwaukee is partnering with Aurora Health Care, a longtime partner of Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, to coordinate the blood drives.  

“Our partners at Aurora Health Care informed us that there will be a need for blood in the coming months, particularly when hospitals again begin scheduling elective surgeries. As we have seen throughout our city, so many of our hospitality partners had closed due to the Safer-at-Home order, leaving their buildings empty. It made perfect sense to reach out to those venues and see if they would be amenable to providing their space. In typical hospitality form, three of them generously stepped up to provide the needed areas for a blood drive,” said VISIT Milwaukee President and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. “Even though our hospitality partners have been some of the most impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, this generosity is part of the Milwaukee hospitality community's DNA. We would like to thank The Cooperage, Adventure Rock, and Saz’s South Second venue for stepping up. They are what make us so pro ud to work on behalf of this community,” she said. 

The blood drives will occur by appointment only: 

Tuesday, April 14, at The Cooperage 
Make an appointment to donate

Wednesday, April 15, at Adventure Rock Milwaukee 
Make an appointment to donate 

Thursday, April 16, at South Second 
Make an appointment to donate 

Five more blood drives are being tentatively planned at other hospitality venues. 

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal is the Medical Director of the Abdominal Transplant program at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center and helping lead their COVID-19 response team to support transplant services during this historic and crucial time. "Blood cannot be stored indefinitely, meaning there is a constant need for donations. Regular donations are required to ensure there is always a supply for those in need," said Dr. Sahajpal. “Every two seconds, a patient needs a blood transfusion.  Now, more than ever before, we need everyday health care heroes to support blood donation by committing to give during the coming weeks and months.”

Versiti’s Regional Manager, Donor Recruitment, Tara Blaesing, s aid, “The good news is that because of community support like VISIT Milwaukee’s Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives, coordinated through Aurora Health Care, our blood donations are currently strong and patient needs are being met, even in this exceptional time." But, once we are beyond the COVID-19 crisis, she said, "We anticipate the demand for blood will again be very high. There are many patients whose surgeries have been postponed while hospitals prioritize caring for those afflicted by the virus. Those procedures and surgeries will need our support, and we need to be ready. The commitment we’ve received from Milwaukee’s hospitality community to open their doors for as long as there is a need, is nothing short of heroic.” 

For The Cooperage, which is the Harbor District’s riverside hub for live music, private parties, and special events, Tuesday’s blood drive is another way they fulfill their mission to bring Milwaukeeans together. With their mission in mind, said The Cooperage’s Emily Dell Revord, “We can't think of a better way to utilize our space during a time of crisis than to open it up for those looking to donate vital resources to a city in need.” 

“It is important to us that we utilize our platform where we can, when we can, to support the Milwaukee community that supports us,” she said. “We ask our friends, partners, colleagues, and anyone who is able, to please join us at one of these blood drives. Your city needs you now more than ever.” 

Saz’s, a hospitality mainstay for both their restaurant, event space, and festival presence, echoes those thoughts. For them, “Community is, and always has been, the cornerstone of who we are at Saz's,” said Curt Kluth, chief fi nancial officer at Saz’s. “While it's unfortunate that many of our clients have had to postpone their events at our venues, we're fortunate to be able to offer our open space and resources to assist in collecting much-needed blood for our community members who will need it now or in the future.” 

For Adventure Rock Milwaukee, their venue “is a place to help the community improve their lives, locally and beyond,” said Adventure Rock’s Craig Burzynski. “While Adventure Rock is currently are unable to open its doors to the general public, providing support to people in any and every way that we can, is still part of our core values.  We have a great space for climbing, fitness, and health, and using the space for an important endeavor such as a blood drive falls right in line with our ability and desire to support the people around us.”  

A representative from Versiti will be on hand at each of the blood drives for interviews. 

Graphics about the Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives can be downloaded here.  

Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 
The Cooperage Event Space 
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
822 S. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204 
Make an appointment to donate 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 
Adventure Rock Milwaukee
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
2220 N. Commerce St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212 
Make an appointment to donate 

Thursday, April 16, 2020
South Second
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
838 S. Second St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204 
Make an appointment to donate 

Ensuring Donor Safety 

  • Health and safety are the top priorities at each of the Hospitality Heroes Blood Drives. Here are the steps Versiti is taking to ensure this.  

Donor Health & Registration 

  • All donor-facing staff will have their temperature taken prior to beginning their workday
  • Donors temperatures will be taken at registration to ensure they are not elevated prior to entering donation areas
  • Donors will be asked to wash hands prior to screening
  • Donors will be asked if they are currently experiencing coughing or shortness of breath
  • Donors will be asked if they have recently traveled to high-risk countries as defined by the CDC
  • If any of the above is true, donors will be asked to self-defer. 

Social Distancing 

  • Versiti encourages all donors to make an appointment to lessen the amount of people waiting at our donor centers
  • Ensuring six feet of space between chairs in waiting areas and cafe
  • Ensuring six feet of space between donation chairs and/or separation with medical screens
  • If appointment registration congestion occurs, Versiti will ask for your cell phone number and text when yo ur appointment is ready 
  • Cleaning 
  • Versiti cleans all equipment, beds, and other surfaces after each donor finishes their donation
  • Changing gloves frequently and between donors is part of our normal practice
  • Versiti will maintain sanitized pen bins, so donors are only using clean pens at sign-in

About VISIT Milwaukee 
VISIT Milwaukee is the Greater Milwaukee area’s convention and visitors bureau, marketing the destination as a top choice for business, convention, and leisure travel to national and international visitors in order to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. Each year, tourism supports over 52,300 full-time jobs and brings more than $5.7 billion to the community. VISIT Milwaukee has over 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services, and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call (800) 554-1448 or visit