CLEVELAND – Nearly two years into the pandemic, everyone has earned a holiday break with their family and friends. But as the nation gathers again for celebrations this season, the American Red Cross, which provides 40% of the country’s blood, is facing historically low blood supply levels.
Busy holiday schedules, breaks from school and winter weather all contribute to a drop in blood and platelet donations this time of year. Those factors, combined with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, make it vital for donors to make an appointment to give as soon as possible. If more donors don’t come forward to give blood, some patients requiring a transfusion may potentially face delays in care.
Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free.
To encourage donors to help address the historically low blood supply this holiday season, all who come to give now to Jan. 2 will receive an exclusive Red Cross long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Blood drives are planned locally at:
Toledo Blood Donation Center, 3510 Executive Parkway, Toledo: Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Napoleon, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1075 Glenwood: Tuesday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. As an extra thank-you from the Red Cross, those who come to donate in January will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.