Annenberg Radio News

American red cross announce a critical low in blood supply

One reporter put his blood, sweat and tears into finding out why

Photo of reporter blood in blood bag

Yesterday the American Red Cross announced the national blood supply has dropped 25% reaching a critical low.

So I went out to donate mine at Crenshaw Christian Center.

The tightening of the blood pressure cuff, the smell of alcohol and the quick sting of the needle was the experience that made me pass out the last time I did this. So this time with food and water in my stomach, I could even chat during the blood draw.

The Blood technician, Carly Feinstein drew out my blood, while I drew out answers.

Carly Feinstein: The drives have definitely started to slow down and the number of appointments are smaller and we try to encourage people to tell their friends and when there’s any walk-ins, we have reps who try to recruit people… But yeah it’s definitely started to slow down a little bit.

Feinstein explained how people should know that the process is only 10 minutes and can save up to three lives, especially individuals with rare blood like Kelly Stamps, a faculty member at Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools.

Kelly Stamps: I actually started donating blood at the beginning of the pandemic. I grew up watching my mother give blood. I have a O-type, which is a very in-demand type. I’m just giving back and being an example of Christ, giving back to wherever I can help.

And help is what’s needed to deal with the shortage according to Mimi Teller, Development Communications Manager for American Red Cross.

Mimi Teller: That can be attributed to a few things, first of all, it was one of the busiest travel seasons on record for Americans. And also with schools now in session, we don’t have blood drives which are commonly held at schools. But in addition to that, Hurricane Idalia wiped out a lot of our donation drives that had been set up.

Teller says the American Red Cross is incentivizing people to donate by offering free shirt and haircuts from Sport Clips.

The American Red Cross will come to USC in early October for a blood drive.