Blood drive seeks donations amidst shortage

Upward Bound sponsored the American Red Cross blood drive Monday in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom as they aim to increase donations during a national blood shortage.

The American Red Cross is currently facing a national blood crisis, which is set to be the worst shortage in over a decade according to the official American Red Cross website. 

They state that there is a 10% overall blood donation decline since March of 2020. And a 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We definitely have a lot less donors since COVID has been around. We have to deny walk-ins sometimes in order to maintain COVID precautions and social distancing. This is the lowest our blood supply has been in a decade,” Alexandra Ortiz, American Red Cross Phlebotomist, stated.

Working with the American Red Cross for four years now, she shared why this job meant so much to her.

“I’ve always wanted to work in jobs that help the community in some way. You know you’re helping out at the end of the day. Whether you have a good or bad day you know you made a positive impact,” Ortiz said.

The main places the American Red Cross goes out to take donations are typically colleges, high schools, VFW’s and churches. 

The American Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides services such as emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education. 

“Years ago the Red Cross was looking for someone to partner up with, and in the summer we were one, if the only, groups active, so we’ve partnered with them and have now for about 18 years,” George Corey, Director of the Upward Bound Program, said.

“We usually do three to four blood drives a year, two in the fall, one in the spring and one in June,” said Corey. 

Located in the Wiecking Center, Upward Bound’s mission is to motivate low-income, potential first-generation college students to complete high school and pursue and succeed in a program of post-secondary education.

During this blood drive they offered free t-shirts and snacks to those who chose to donate.

“I have donated before and since it was on campus it was super easy for me to come and donate again,” Zoe Macklanburg, junior at MSU, said. “I also know there is a national blood shortage happening right now.”

The national blood shortage being linked to COVID-19 has been a trend in the lack of volunteers, however, other issues may appear when volunteers are looking to donate. 

“There’s quite a few times where people come and try to donate but then either their blood pressure is off so then they aren’t able to, which is a bummer,” Emma Welter, volunteer for the blood drive and Junior at MSU, shared.

Header Photo: The American Red Cross hosts various blood drives at MSU. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

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