Sometimes the word "free" can bring out hordes of people.

That's what happened when WellSpan Heath offered free movie tickets to blood donors this week.

Jane Sitler, manager of blood resources at WellSpan's Blood Donor Services at Apple Hill Medical Center in York Township, said an above average number of people turned out to donate blood in exchange for the free tickets.

"I've gone back to the well several times to get more tickets," she said.

All told, 307 people donated blood in four days this week.

Sitler said she expected that tally over the course of five days. The ticket giveaway ends Friday.

Tickets: WellSpan was able to purchase tickets from Frank Theatres, which has a location at 2071 Springwood Road, at a discounted price, Sitler said.

Each person who donated blood at Apple Hill received two free tickets.

The incentive comes at a time when blood donations drop off.

With flu season in full swing and people busy with the holidays, donating blood falls by the wayside, causing blood shortages. According to America's Blood Center, which is North America's network of nonprofit community blood centers, shortages of all blood types happen during the summer and winter holidays but centers often run short of O and B blood types.

In years past, WellSpan handed out freebies to entice people to donate this time of year.

One year WellSpan gave away gift cards for pizza. But that giveaway didn't garner the kind of response the movie tickets received, Sitler said.


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"We were looking for ways to entice donors because donations drop in January," she said.

WellSpan's blood donation center at Apple Hill, 25 Monument Road, is open noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.