The American Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before — as well as those who haven’t given recently — to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.


While the need for blood is constant during the summer months, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors. Nationwide, nearly one-third fewer new donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. Additionally, many schools where blood drives are held — and where new donors give — are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.


While about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent of those eligible actually do. The blood donation process takes about an hour with the actual donation only taking about 10 minutes. Whether new to donating blood or a lifelong donor, the Red Cross offers helpful tips for an enjoyable donation experience:


— As much as possible, eat iron-rich foods leading up to your donation.


— Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after the donation.


— Have a healthy meal before the donation.


— Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.


— Complete a RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.


— Remember to bring a picture ID, blood donor card or two other forms of identification.


“Every day, we have thousands of lives to help save, but blood and platelet donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand during the summer months,” said Jan Hale, communications manager, Southwest Blood Services Region. “In less time than it can take to go out to eat, you can make a lifesaving difference for cancer patients, accident victims and others in need.”


Appointments can be scheduled by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:


• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at Cricket Wireless, 1362 SE Washington Blvd., Bartlesville


• Noon to 6 p.m. June 5, American Red Cross, 601 S. Jennings, Bartlesville


• 12:30-6:30 p.m. June 8, Skiatook United Methodist Church, 1007 S. Osage St., Skiatook


• Noon to 5:30 p.m., First Christian Church, 100 S. Division, Pawnee


• 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 11, Adams Blvd. Church of Christ, 3700 SE Adams Blvd., Bartlesville


Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. Those who come out to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross June 7 through World Blood Donor Day on June 14 will receive a limited-edition Nexcare Give bandage with the theme “Roll up a sleeve and give where you live,” featuring vibrant city-inspired designs reflecting landmarks and locales from around the globe.


The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.