Donate Blood Today

The American Red Cross urges people to donate blood to help combat ongoing emergency blood shortage.

RICHLANDS — As the holidays approach, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about the potential spike in flu cases. When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease. Paired with winter weather, busy holiday schedules and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter.

“It’s important that those who are eligible, healthy and feeling well, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets,” American Red Cross officials said in a press statement.

People are urged donate blood to help combat the ongoing emergency blood shortage. Currently facing the lowest blood supply levels, at this time of year, in more than a decade.

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 meet the needs of hospital patients this month, all who come to donate now through Nov. 23 will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card by email. Those who come to give around the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 24-28, will receive a pair of Red Cross socks, while supplies last.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities for November:

  • Nov. 23, 2 p.m. — 6 p.m., 902 Church, 2009 Carey Rd., Kinston.
  • Nov. 23, 9 a.m. — 1:30 p.m., VFW Post 9133, 1450 Piney Green Road, Jacksonville.
  • Nov. 28, 1 p.m. — 5 p.m., Richlands First Baptist Church, 100 Rand Street, Richlands.
  • Nov. 29, 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., Performing Arts Center, 2601 North Queen Street, Kinston.

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.

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, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood.

Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease. Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information for upcoming donation drives visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org. Donors are urged to schedule an appointment by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-733-2767.

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com