Twisted Hippo at 2925 W. Montrose Ave. Credit: provided

ALBANY PARK — Twisted Hippo is hosting a socially distanced blood drive at its brewery and taproom Monday afternoon, giving people a way to help during the pandemic while also getting a free COVID-19 antibodies test.

The brewery at 2925 W. Montrose Ave. partnered with nonprofit Versiti for the blood drive. Donors need to register in advance here. Monday’s blood drive has slots 32 slots available 2-6 p.m.

Blood donations are badly needed because they have fallen off during the pandemic, officials have warned.

Blood donations are screened for COVID-19 antibodies. Donors will be notified of the results.

“With the dine-in restrictions we’re not using our space to the best of our ability right now,” said Twisted Hippo owner Marilee Rutherford. “Honestly, I wish I could do more. But this is such an easy way to contribute our space too a good cause.”

The brewery will have lots of air circulation and sanitizer for the drive, and people will be social distancing and wearing masks, she said. Donors who don’t register ahead of time are encouraged to contact the brewery Monday to see if there are any donation slots still available. 

“We can usually squeeze in appointments between the donation slots that have already been RSVPed because some people are no shows. Or when they do show up they find out they’re not able to donate blood because they recently got a piercing, their iron is too low or they have the sniffles,” Rutherford said. 

The goal is to collect 20 units of blood from donors. Rutherford first offered up the brewery’s space for blood drives over the summer and plans to host additional drives this month through April. 

She spent most of 2020 pregnant, and because of that she wasn’t able to participate in protests over police misconduct. 

“I was not able to do all the good that I wanted to do in the ways that I wanted to do it,” she said. “But this is a way for us to still be a part of the community and give back. And we’re grateful for anybody who can contribute.”

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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.orgnnLincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park Twitter @avhndz