COLUMBIA — The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations Tuesday morning after they received 50,000 fewer donations in June than expected.
Donations were down about 10 percent nationwide in June, according to a news release from the Red Cross. About 20 percent of the organization's blood supply comes from high school- and college-aged donors, according to the release.
"Unfortunately only a few of those donate in the summer months," said Laurie Nehring, communications manager for the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region.
Donations from students decrease by more than 80 percent during the summer, according to the release.
The drop in donations is similar to what the organization experienced in June 2012.
In addition to the decrease in student donors, Nehring said the Red Cross experiences a drop in donations from "regulars." She said the busy summer months often don't leave time for those individuals to donate as often.
The 42-day shelf life of blood limits the organization's ability to build up a surplus during high donation times. Rather than pushing for additional donations when they're not needed, the Red Cross tries to use all of its stock first.
"We wouldn't want to have too much," Nehring said.
The Red Cross is holding blood drives in July throughout Missouri in an attempt to refill its blood supply. The four dates for blood drives in Columbia are:
- July 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bank of Missouri, 3610 Buttonwood Drive.
- July 19: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Roger B. Wilson County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.
- July 21: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Newman Center, 602 Turner Ave.
- July 22: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Quarterdeck Corporation, 2401 Lemone Industrial Drive.
For a full list of donation dates and locations, go to redcrossblood.org/make-donation.
Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.