Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. To help meet the constant demand for lifesaving blood donations and prevent blood shortages this winter, the American Red Cross is urging individuals and organizations to be winter heroes by hosting a blood drive.
Right now, the Red Cross needs about 6,500 additional groups across the country to host blood drives in December, January and February to ensure blood will be there for patients who rely on blood products. In this area, about 290 more blood drive hosts are needed. During the winter, there is often a decrease in the number of blood drives, which can contribute to blood shortages.
“When someone hosts a blood drive, they give donors a chance to donate lifesaving blood, in turn helping to save dozens or even hundreds of lives,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Biomedical Services. “Blood shortages are not uncommon during the winter months, and these shortages could cause delays in patient care. But with the help of volunteer blood drive partners, the Red Cross can be better prepared to meet patient needs all winter long.”
To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive. Blood drive partners who host a drive between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 will receive long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirts for all who come to give, and if the partner achieves its donation goal, it will be recognized in a national newspaper highlighting its lifesaving work.
Hosting a blood drive
Because more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives hosted by volunteers, blood drive partners play a vital role in helping ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. In addition to helping save lives, organizations that host blood drives can also build goodwill in their community, bringing people together around a central cause.
Organizing a blood drive is easier than many expect, and blood drive coordinator Joe Turner agrees. Since 2016, Turner has hosted an annual blood drive at his church in memory of his father, Woody, who battled cancer for many years and needed platelets during treatment.
“Hosting a blood drive with Red Cross is pretty simple,” said Turner. “The donor recruitment manager takes care of the drive logistics, and I help by asking my friends and family to schedule an appointment to give blood at the drive.”
A Red Cross representative works with the host every step of the way, providing planning assistance, tools to recruit blood donors, equipment and supplies, and the trained staff needed to screen donors and collect donations. Blood drive hosts provide a large, open location, identify volunteers to support donor recruitment, and recruit and schedule blood donors. Turner actively recruits blood donors for the drive using social media, flyers and a SleevesUp campaign.
“I would encourage those who are thinking about hosting a blood drive to simply do it. Help your community. Everybody knows somebody who has needed blood, or may need blood at some point,” said Turner. “When you think of how many people can benefit from the blood donations given at one drive, that’s most rewarding to me.”