The American Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal for blood donors. April Opliger is a spokesperson for the Omaha/Council Bluffs chapter of the Red Cross. She says blood donations have dropped off nationwide. “Blood donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 10-percent in June which resulted in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected,” Opliger said.

The demand for blood often increases in the summer, just as donations typically decline. “A lot of times in June, people are adjusting to the summer schedule and schools are out of session which means those high school and college kids we counted on during the school year are less likely to donate,” Opliger said. College campus blood drives account for as much as 20-percent of Red Cross donations during the school year.

Anyone wanting to donate can make an appointment by calling 1-800-Red-Cross. “All types (of blood) are needed, especially O-negative, A-negative, and B-negative,” Opliger said. “And we’re looking for whole blood and platelet donors.” Many Iowans are scheduling vacations in July and August – so Opliger notes that makes it difficult for employers to find time to schedule blood drives in the summer.