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Blood Shortage: Volunteer to Roll Up a Sleeve to Help Others in Need

As many across the country look for volunteer opportunities this upcoming MLK Day of Service, the American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to consider making an appointment this holiday weekend to donate blood or platelets for patients in need. The Red Cross is currently facing a severe blood shortage with an emergency need for donations.

Severe weather cancelled significantly more blood drives across the country just this past weekend. Since the beginning of December, winter storms have now forced the cancellation of approximately 215 Red Cross blood drives in two dozen states, resulting in more than 7,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of service, this weekend, you can help others by rolling up a sleeve to save a life. Volunteer donors are the only source of blood and platelets for those in need of transfusions. And every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion.

Schedule your appointment today

Eligible blood donors are urged to schedule a donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too. The Red Cross encourages individuals to make a donation appointment and to complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

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.