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Red Cross experiencing blood donor shortage

The organization celebrated 140 years Friday
Posted at 6:03 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 19:05:47-04

OMAHA, Neb. — As the American Red Cross rings in their 140th Anniversary, they reflect on their efforts over the years but say a lot of work still needs to be done —the organization is currently experiencing low blood donor turnout.

Members of the Omaha-metro American Cross humbly thanked all their volunteers Friday as they celebrated the anniversary.

"We've spent the last 140 years just being able to really help people and without those donors, and without those volunteers we wouldn't be able to do that," Omaha-metro American Red Cross account representative Shawnee Peterson said.

They also want to use their anniversary as an opportunity to help spread the word that blood donations are still incredibly important, even during the pandemic.

"Now, we are starting to see a dip in donations as vaccines get more prevalent as we do hit those summer months," Peterson said.

The Red Cross provides nearly 40% of the nation's blood supply that is used for daily medical purposes like to help crash victims or to help during surgery. However, as the nation climbs out of a devastating pandemic and starts returning back to normal, blood donor turnout has decreased.

"I think one really big factor with the vaccinations is that with us doing the antibody testing, people were able to see if they were exposed to the virus," Peterson said.

The organization continues to offer free COVID antibody testing with a blood donation, but with many already vaccinated, the antibody tests aren't in high demand.

KMTV is partnering with The American Red Cross and the Omaha Lancers for the Give Blood, Play Hockey Blood Drive.

The blood drive will take place at three locations over two days:

  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
    • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – Aloft Omaha West Hotel (215 S. 181st St., Elkhorn, Nebraska)
  • Friday, June 11, 2021
    • 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. - Ralston Arena (7300 Q St., Omaha, Neb.)
    • 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. - Holiday Inn and Suites (2202 River Rd., Council Bluffs, Iowa)

To make an appointment:

  • Download the free Red Cross Blood Donor app or Visit
  • Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
  • Enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device
  • Use sponsor code: GiveBloodPlayHockey
  • Use Rapid Pass to save time at your donation. Visit to access

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