Amid a global pandemic, it is more important than ever that we come together as a community. As brave healthcare professionals on the frontline continue to battle the novel Coronavirus, a steady supply of blood is crucial to continue their lifesaving efforts.

With an unprecedented strain placed on our nation’s healthcare systems, U.S. blood supply has faced critical shortages in one of our greatest times of need. While the American Red Cross has been working around the clock to support hospitals and medical centers, blood drives are essential to maintaining normal healthcare operations.

Blood and blood products – like plasma, platelets and red cells – are used in transfusions to treat burn victims, cancer patients and individuals undergoing surgery, organ transplants, and other necessary medical procedures. However, blood has a short shelf life and cannot be stockpiled, requiring an ongoing need for donors.

To protect our staff and donors, the American Red Cross has taken the highest health and safety precautions at every blood drive center to prevent the spread of disease. This includes practicing social distancing, ensuring face masks or coverings are worn by both staff and donors, disinfecting frequently touched areas and other infection control practices.

The men and women who have stepped up to donate blood are a testament to the power and strength of our communities during these uncertain times. The Red Cross has seen people from all walks of life come together to help those in times of crisis and we can’t help but be hopeful for what a post-pandemic future looks like.

To find out more about participating in a blood drive, or for the latest updates, go to

By Kailey Hultman, Red Cross contributor