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September 18, 2023

The Red Cross has a national blood shortage; here's where to donate in Philly

Hurricane Idalia prompted blood drives cancellations last month, resulting in a massive shortfall of donations. Type O blood and platelet donors are especially needed

Nonprofits Red Cross
Blood shortage Red Cross Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The American Red Cross says there is a national blood shortage, citing Hurricane Idalia as a factor. There are many blood drives happening in Philadelphia during September.

The American Red Cross says its blood supply has dropped to "critically low levels," constituting a national blood shortage. 

The nonprofit's blood supply has decreased by nearly 25% since early August, partially due to blood drive cancelations spurred by natural disasters like Hurricane Idalia. The storm contributed to a shortfall of 30,000 donations, as blood distribution to hospitals began to outpace collections coming in.

Since then, the Philadelphia chapter of the Red Cross has seen an uptick in donations, but the increase is not enough, a spokesperson said Monday.

"We have seen people come out, which is so great," said Alana Mauger, the regional communications manager for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. "We're still not seeing the numbers that we need to recover from the shortage."

The Red Cross is a national organization so even blood collected at Pennsylvania centers helps relieve stressed hospitals in other areas, like the southeastern U.S. states hit by Hurricane Idalia, Mauger said. With several other storms brewing off the Atlantic Ocean, the nonprofit is scrambling to replenish its blood banks before another disaster.

There is an emergency need for type O blood and platelet donors in particular. O negative blood is considered "universal" because it can be used in any transfusion, but this means it is often in short supply and high demand. Platelet donations, which have a shelf life of only five days, are crucial for cancer patients and those undergoing major operations like organ transplants or open heart surgery. 

Where to donate blood in Philly

The Philadelphia Blood Donation Center, at 700 Spring Garden St., is open daily for donations, and the Northeast Philadelphia Blood Donation Center, at 1401 Rhawn St., is open Sunday to Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday. Times vary at both locations.

Additionally, here's a round-up of every Red Cross blood drive in Philly over the next two weeks, listed in chronological order. To make an appointment, visit the online scheduler.

Tuesday, Sept. 19

BNY Mellon
1735 Market St.
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania
2221 Chestnut St.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Independence Visitor Center
41 N. Sixth St.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5
11630 Caroline Road
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
2716 South St.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22

Nazareth Hospital
2601 Holme Ave.
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia
1939 West Venango St.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 25

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
4190 City Line Ave.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Deliverance Evangelistic Church
2001 W. Lehigh Ave.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 26

University of Pennsylvania Irvine
3401 Spruce St.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 27

Northeast Family YMCA
11088 Knights Road
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Christ the King Roman Catholic Church
3252 Chesterfield Road
2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 28

Einstein Medical Center
5501 Old York Road
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania
2221 Chestnut St.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 29

St. Joseph's University 
730 S. 43rd St.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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