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CNY Red Cross asking residents to donate blood during critical blood shortage

Two signs stating the urgent need for people to donate blood during the blood shortage.
Scott Willis
A blood drive was held earlier this month at SUNY ESF.

The national blood shortage is ever so present here in Central New York where the Red Cross provides blood to the healthcare system. There are numerous opportunities for residents to roll up their sleeves this month at community blood drives all across Onondaga County and surrounding areas.

Lisa Smith, Red Cross Executive Director of Central and Northern New York, said the organization manages and distributes about 80 percent of regions’ blood supply.

“When we start falling below the averages to meet the needs in the hospital, it just compounds itself because then we have to keep replacing and replenishing our blood supply. So we always need people to come out. But right now, this is a national blood shortage and we need all blood types to come out,” said Smith.

Smith said type O blood and platelet donors are also needed.

She explained getting prepared to give blood starts the night before with a good meal.

“Some iron rich food. (You can) have the spinach salad, nice steak, some fresh vegetables, just to get your iron level up. And then the day of (giving blood) be hydrated,” advised Smith.

Snacks will also be available if you go to any of the upcoming blood drives this month to maintain blood sugar levels which typically fall after giving, according to Smith.

This week, there have been numerous blood drives on college campuses including LeMoyne College and Syracuse University.

"Younger people, high school students, college students are some of our most generous donors. You know, I think they feel the need more. They're more open and they have easier access because we go right onto campus or we're right in the schools,” said Smith.

The concern for the shortage of blood grows even greater during the month of September, sickle cell awareness month. Blood donors help patients with sickle cell manage their symptoms and in turn, show support for their community, according to the Red Cross.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunities

If you are interested in giving blood, here are upcoming blood donation opportunities in Syracuse.

  • 9/15/2023: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Van Duyn Center, 5075 West Seneca Turnpike
  • 9/18/2023: 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., North Syracuse Community Center, 700 South Bay Rd
  • 9/19/2023: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Suburban Propane, 5793 Widewaters Parkway
  • 9/20/2023: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Access CNY, 1603 Court St
  • 9/20/2023: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Onondaga Free Library, 4840 West Seneca Turnpike
  • 9/22/2023: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Howlett Hill Fire Dept, 3384 Howlett Hill
  • 9/22/2023: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Solvay Fire Department, 1925 Milton Ave
  • 9/23/2023: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., New Comer Funeral Home, 705 North Main Street
  • 9/26/2023: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., St. Camillus, 813 Fay Rd
  • 9/28/2023: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Dunbar Association, Inc., 1453 South State Street
  • 9/28/2023: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Service Center, 960 James St., 2nd Flr

To see more blood donation opportunities in Onondaga County and surrounding areas click here and type in your zip code.

How to Donate Blood

Smith advised anyone interested in giving blood to register in advance before showing up at a blood drive location to help expedite the process. Donors are screened on-site to make sure they’re able to give blood and not dealing with low iron levels or anemia. You can register here or download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App. At check-in, a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.