Blood supply hits its lowest holiday mark in a decade. Here's where you can donate.

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light

The American Red Cross is heading into the holiday season with its most serious blood supply shortage in 10 years.

According to Red Cross officials, the organization collects, processes and distributes approximately 40% of the nation’s blood supply. Its goal is to collect approximately 12,500 blood donations and more than 2,700 platelet donations each day to meet the needs of patients in 2,500 hospitals and facilities across the country.

Joyce Myers gives blood during a recent blood drive.

“Typically, the American Red Cross keeps a three- to five-day supply of blood available for distribution to hospitals and patients in need,” said Brian Moeschler, regional donor services executive of the American Red Cross. “In recent weeks, we have had less than a day’s supply of certain types of blood, making the need for people to make and keep donations appointments even more important.”

Officials say the pandemic is a main reason the blood supply is facing a drastic shortage. Krystal Smith, regional communications director, said the Red Cross had distributed 250,000 more blood products in 2021 than last year. But she said the spread of the delta variant in August began affecting donations.

“The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from last year — one of the largest year-to-year decreases that could threaten essential medical care for patients,” Smith said. “Locally, the Red Cross North Texas Region has experienced a 22% decrease in new blood donors this year.

“As a result of low blood donor turnout in recent months, the Red Cross is heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in more than a decade at this time of year,” Smith said. “Blood donations are desperately needed now to meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.”

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, Smith said.

“A single blood donation can help save more than one life,” she said.

Ellis County residents will have several opportunities to donate blood this month:

• Dec. 8: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., City of Waxahachie, 401 Elm St.

• Dec. 11: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Poteet Martial Arts, 1080 Dividend St., Midlothian

• Dec. 17: Noon to 6 p.m.. Waxahachie Family YMCA, 100 YMCA Drive

• Dec. 29: 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Baylor Medical Center of Waxahachie, 2400 N. I-35E

To find future blood drives in the area go to redcrossblood.org and search by typing in a zip code.

Blood donations can be made safely every 56 days. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible and throughout the year by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).