The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage after the Fourth of July holiday week. The emergency has prompted the Red Cross to ask for eligible donors to donate after approximately 550 fewer blood drives were organized during the holiday week. The lack of donations could lead up to 15,000 fewer donations in the area.

Joe Zydlo, the external communications manager for Missouri – Illinois blood services said the Red Cross typically sees a blood shortage twice a year, with the beginning of summer being one of the slowest times of the year.

Zydlo said there a few contributing factors. “We do 20 percent of our blood drives at schools – universities, middle schools, high schools. We’re already at a loss there,” Zydlo said. Zydlo also said families are eager to get outside and take vacations during this time of year.

“We had a rough winter with flu season,” Zydlo said, noting that the summer bypassed spring after the winter season.

“This is a time of year we really struggle,” Zydlo said, who also said this time of year coincides with mid-late November during the Christmas holiday season starting.

Zydlo said the Red Cross, nationwide, has lost 80,000 donors due to illnesses, old age, death or just not retaining them. Right now, one of their goals to gain more donors is reaching first time donors and millennials to help prevent emergencies in the future.

To get donors to donate, Zydlo said the Red Cross can only provide small incentives. As a non-profit organization, the Red Cross does not offer much to incent others to donate beyond a 5$ dollar gift card to Amazon or a free T-shirt. “Our main focus is we’re hoping people will come out to do it cause it’s the right thing to do,” Zydlo said.

Zydlo said blood donated to the Red Cross helps with a variety of medical care such as chemotherapy, emergency care, blood transfusions and other treatments.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care,” Senior Vice President of Red Cross Servies Cliff Numark said in a press release. “So, it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs.”

If you’re interested in donating blood, here’s a list of a few blood drives happening in Pulaski County.

Fort Leonard Wood 

7/11/2018: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., ECS-66, Iowa Ave, BLDG 5138 

7/17/2018: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Fort Leonard Wood Vet Clinic, 2399 Minnesota Ave 

7/20/2018: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Ft Wood Army Community Hospital, 126 Missouri Ave

Saint Robert 

7/13/2018: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m., Walmart, 185 St. Robert Blvd 

7/23/2018: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Sellers-Sexton Pre-Owned Trucks and Imports, 509 VFW Memorial Drive 

7/26/2018: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Culver's Restaurant, 1411 Town Center Blvd