The Red Cross is appealing for blood as donations dwindle due to recent severe storms and less people donating in favor of holiday trips.
The Red Cross launched an emergency appeal June 25 as blood donations went down 10 percent, resulting in 50,000 fewer pints of blood than expected. The waning supply issue was compounded by recent storms that left many people without electricity or water.
Red Cross Communications Manager, Marianne Spampinato, said that the weather has already canceled two blood drives and that four more drives are at risk of being canceled. She said that because of the equipment that is used, a blood drive cannot operate without power, and that without air conditioning, it would be difficult to keep the blood, donation workers and donors cool.
"The storms have compounded an already bad situation into a potentially worse situation," she said.
In addition to the severe storms, summer months are difficult for blood drives because of people going on vacation and schools being closed or limited. Spampinato adds that because Independence Day falls in the middle of the week this year, there will be fewer people available to donate as many will be on vacation and businesses may not have sufficient staff to let those interested off of work to donate.
"We are severely under booked this week," she said.
The Red Cross is seeking all blood types for the donation, and Spampinato adds that they are especially interested in types O+, O-, A-, and B-.
In addition, The Red Cross is issuing an ice cream promotion as an incentive to donate. All donors are entered into a chance to win either ice cream for a year (a coupon for a 48 oz. ice cream), or an ice cream party.
Spampinato urges those that already have an appointment to donate blood to keep their appointments in this time of need.
There are two upcoming blood drives in Shepherdstown. The first will be Monday, July 16 at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. All donors will receive a coupon for free ice cream. The second will be Monday, July 23 from 11-6 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church.