While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure that blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

The next blood drive in Waldo County takes place at the Freedom Town Office Voting Hall Saturday, Aug. 20, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

To schedule an appointment to donate in Freedom or at another location, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.