One-two Punch of Winter Storms, Canceled Blood Drives Straining Red Cross Blood Supply

Blood Emergency Sticker

CHESTER COUNTY, PA — The American Red Cross is reissuing its emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now after multiple snow storms, frigid temperatures and the government shutdown further reduced lifesaving donations.

In January, more than 4,600 Red Cross blood and platelet donations went uncollected as blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather blanketing parts of the U.S., including 15 blood drives in Pennsylvania, resulting in more than 250 uncollected donations. Additional cancellations are expected this week, and weather travel advisories may cause even more donors to delay their planned donations. Donors in areas affected by winter weather are asked to make an appointment now to give once it is safe to travel.

The federal government shutdown also affected donations as more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies. About 30 blood drives hosted by federal offices were canceled across the country due to the shutdown, leaving more than 900 donations uncollected.

“Disruptions to blood and platelet donations jeopardize the availability of blood for patients who depend on transfusions for survival,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We’re grateful for all those who have come out to give since we issued our emergency call earlier this month and now urge others to come out and give to prevent delays in essential medical care.”

Right now, Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.

All eligible donors, especially platelet donors and blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Chester County:

American Red Cross Blood Donation Center
West Chester Blood Donation Center
523 East Gay St., West Chester
Monday – Thursday: 11:45 a.m. – 7:45 p.m. (whole blood)
Friday – Sunday: 7:15 a.m. – 3 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)

2/18/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 2835 Manor Road

2/1/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Ashbridge Manor Senior Living Center, 971 E. Lancaster Ave.
2/5/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., East Brandywine Township Building, 1214 Horseshoe Pike

2/4/2019: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., West Chester School District, Administration Building, 782 Springdale Road
2/24/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Clarion at Exton, 815 N. Pottstown Pike

1/31/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road

2/11/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Forks of Brandywine Presbyterian Church, 1648 Horseshoe Pike

Kennett Square
2/28/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Advent, 401 N. Union St.

2/11/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Paoli United Methodist Church, 81 Devon Road

2/18/2019: 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., VFW Post No. 4480, 406 Fourth Ave.

2/3/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., YMCA, 400 E. Pothouse Road
2/4/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Sacred Heart Church, 148 Church St.
2/14/2019: 7 a.m. – 12 p.m., Phoenixville Area Middle School, 1000 Purple Pride Parkway
2/15/2019: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Schuylkill Elementary School, 290 S. Whitehorse Road

2/28/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Norco Fire Company, 144 W. Schuylkill Road

Spring City
2/28/2019: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 3640 Schuylkill Road

West Chester
2/3/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Goshen Fire Company, 1320 Park Ave.
2/15/2019: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Good Fellowship Ambulance, 600 Montgomery Ave.
2/18/2019: 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., St. Agnes Parish, 233 W. Gay St.
2/19/2019: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., West Chester University, Sykes Student Union, 110 W. Rosedale Ave.
2/25/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., West Chester University, Sykes Student Union, 110 W. Rosedale Ave.

West Grove
2/15/2019: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Londongrove Township Building, 372 Rose Hill Road

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross:
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, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News.

This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.