The American Red Cross is predicting that by Jan. 1 its blood supply will be gone.
According to the Red Cross, blood supplies typically decline during the holidays and deplete regional supplies. The Red Cross has already issued a community alert asking for blood donations because patient needs might be compromised.
Barb Blaes, manager of donor recruitment for the American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois blood services region, said the early flu outbreak this year has affected blood donations. “We have seen a significant decrease in donors that show up for blood drives,” she said.
In response to the shortage, the Red Cross has created the Holiday Heroes initiative. Participants will receive items, such as a travel mug or calculator, in recognition of their efforts. Potential donors must be 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health the day they donate. Eligible donors are encouraged to call (800) GIVE-LIFE or visit www.americanredcrossblood.org.
There are several coming blood drives in the Columbia area. They are:
Lowe’s in Columbia: noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
University Hospital, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday
First Christian Church of Centralia, noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 7
J.C. Penney at Columbia Mall, 2 to 6 p.m. Jan. 7
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-Highland Ward, 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 14.
Hallsville United Methodist Church, 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 14.
— Emily Schwarze