Every week, patients in hospitals in the region need about 1,000 units of blood.
Nationwide, the need is 38,000 units each day.
During the summer, the amount of blood coming in to the American Red Cross and Community Blood Bank is down but the need remains.
Giving and saving
Dave Schumann of Warren gives a donation of red blood cells last Tuesday during a Community Blood Bank blood drive at the Holy Redeemer Center in Warren.
Community Blood Bank (CBB) supplies blood only to hospitals in Warren, Erie, McKean, Tioga, Potter, and Elk counties in Pennsylvania, plus Titusville Hospital in Crawford County, and Allegany and Chautauqua counties in New York.
The American Red Cross supplies about 3,000 hospitals nationwide. "The American Red Cross believes in providing blood whenever it is needed where it is needed," Maureen Wellman, American Red Cross New York-Penn Region communications manager, said.
Many donors give every time they can - about every eight weeks for a donation of whole blood or 16 weeks for a double red cell donation.
"It doesn't cost anything, just a little of your time," Trish Gentilman said. "It saves lives."
"I feel good doing it," Dave Schumann said. "They need it."
"I'm here because it's the right thing to do," Clarence Jenkins of Starbrick said. "It doesn't hurt you and it helps other people."
He started giving in 1959 and has "been quite regular" about it for the last 30 years.
"It's something I can do," Jenkins said. "It's part of being a citizen of the United States."
"It's the right thing to do," Susie Pirillo said. "It helps people."
Janet and Tom Buser went together to the Holy Redeemer Center in Warren for Tuesday's drive.
"We feel it's important to be here," Tom Buser said.
"Especially in the summer," Janet Buser said.
During the school year, drives at high schools and colleges bring in about 10 to 15 percent of Red Cross blood donations, Wellman said.
For CBB, the number is closer to 25 percent, Mobile Drive Coordinator Shari Jerman said.
Almost all of those donations dry up in the summer.
"You also have people enjoying summertime activities," Wellman said.
Also, "people on vacation don't think about giving blood," Jerman said.
"Summer is traditionally a very difficult time for us," Wellman said. "We are seeing a critical need for blood donations right now."
She said the blood supply is behind last year's level. "We are concerned... going into the summer months already in a deficit."
To help bring people in, CBB holds promotions. In June, donors could enter to win tickets to a Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw concert in Pittsburgh. In July, the prizes include a Kindle Fire and a $100 Amazon gift card.
In addition to drives at employers throughout the community, CBB public drives will be held on Monday, July 2, at Sheffield United Methodist Church, and Tuesday, July 17, at the Holy Redeemer Center in Warren.
The Sheffield drive is typically held on the first Wednesday of the month. Because of the July 4 holiday, that drive was rescheduled.
Drives are held at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department on the third Wednesday of every other month. The next will be Aug. 15.
The Holy Redeemer Center drives are held on the third Tuesday of every month and typically bring in about 50 units of blood, Jerman said.
Red Cross drives may be located by visiting www.redcrossblood.org. The organization will hold a drive from 2 to 6 p.m. July 24 at North Warren Presbyterian Church.