BLOOD SHORTAGE: Community partners team up to donate at American Red Cross drive

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — The American Red Cross is facing what it calls a severe blood shortage.

In fact, staff with the organization say levels are the lowest they have been in 6 years.

“During this time, we usually don’t have this issue but right now we’re extremely low. We need as many as many donors to come out as possible,” said Allison Balash, account manager with the American Red Cross.

The pandemic has resulted in fewer than normal blood donation appointments.

Since blood cannot be stored for very long, there is a need for all types.

“O negative is the most needed because it’s universal,” Balash said. “It can go to any patient but we need all donors. Every type of blood is very important.”

It’s why the Red Cross welcomes the help of the Meeting Place Church of Greater Columbia and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department on Friday.

“This group of guys are going to be coming out and giving,” said James Reese, Richland County deputy sheriff.

Members of law enforcement were in and out in less than an hour. 

“It took about 30 minutes. It was pain-free and didn’t bother me at all,” Reese said. “The folks working here are fantabulous and do a great job. I suggest everybody come out here and give. This is the gift of life.”

Once you’ve donated blood, you can use the American Red Cross app to track how your blood is being used. There are several uses here in the Midlands.

“Cancer patients, trauma patients such as car accidents, even mother and newborn babies sometimes need blood. There’s a wide variety, Balash said.

It’s why they are calling on the rest of the Midlands community to also help out and give blood.

“It’s a necessary thing that we as a community of hard-working people that love people want to help the community,” the deputy sheriff said. “This is one of the best ways we can think of to do it.”

If you do want to give blood, you can go to the American Red Cross website to make an appointment and find a location near you.

They also accept walk-ins any day of the week at the Red Cross’ Bull Street location and are even offering incentives such as gift cards.

Categories: Local News, Richland