You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

First-time blood donors needed to curb new donor decline during challenging summer months

6 things to know before donating blood

Community organizations, businesses encouraged to host blood drives in July, August

WASHINGTON D.C. – May 24, 2017 – The American Red Cross urges eligible individuals to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets to help ensure lifesaving blood products are available for hospital patients all summer long – one of the most challenging times of the year for donations. With the number of new donors typically declining by more than 30 percent during the summer months of June, July, and August, the Red Cross extends its call for donors to those who have never donated blood or platelets before.

“Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion,” said Shaun Gilmore, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Summer is a difficult time to collect donations with schools that host blood drives on break and many people off enjoying vacation, yet that critical and constant need for blood does not change. As we kickoff the unofficial start to summer this Memorial Day weekend, we welcome our valued volunteer donors and those who never donated before to give the gift of life. Patients are counting on us.”

6 things to know before donating blood

Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour. To help reduce the fear of the unknown for new donors, here are six things helpful to know before donating blood:

1. Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet.

2. Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz of liquid before and after your donation.

3. Have a healthy meal before your donation – avoid foods high in fat just prior to donation.

4. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.

5. Complete your RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.

6. Remember to bring your ID!

Interested individuals can also review additional Red Cross tips for a successful donation.

Schedule an appointment to give

To make an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors of all blood types are needed. To encourage donations around the Memorial Day holiday, those who come to give blood or platelets from May 26-30 will receive a Red Cross visor, while supplies last.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Community organizations, businesses urged to host a blood drive

Red Cross blood drive sponsors are also critical this summer in helping meet the constant need for blood by offering convenient opportunities for individuals to give. Each day, the Red Cross holds nearly 500 blood drives; however, scheduled blood drives are lagging in July and August. Community organizations, businesses, churches, and other civic groups can make a difference in their community this summer by volunteering to serve as sponsors or hosts.

Suburban Propane, in addition to being a valuable blood drive sponsor throughout the year, is also a proud national sponsor of Red Cross Blood Services to help increase awareness of the need for blood and platelet donations this summer.

“The Suburban Propane family is honored to support the mission of the Red Cross and help ensure that blood and platelets are available for patients in need during the challenging summer months,” said Michael A. Stivala, president and chief executive officer, Suburban Propane. “Our employees are local members in the communities we serve across the United States. By partnering with the Red Cross, we can help improve the lives of those in our communities.”

Throughout the summer, Suburban Propane employees will help save lives by donating blood or platelets and by volunteering at Red Cross blood drives.

“We are grateful for our summer partnership with Suburban Propane,” said Donna Morrissey, director of national partnerships at the Red Cross. “Ensuring a readily available blood supply is truly a collaborative effort involving the generosity of volunteer donors and dedicated sponsors like Suburban Propane.”

Learn more about hosting a Red Cross blood drive.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Ready To Donate

Find a drive and schedule a blood donation appointment today.