Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
"The American Red Cross is experiencing a critical blood shortage right now," said Tiffany Taylor with the Red Cross of Nashville.
Taylor said it's not uncommon for blood supplies to dip during summer months.
"[It's] not uncommon during the summer months. Simply because a lot of individuals are traveling, a lot of families are on vacation. Schools are out and our colleges and our high schools make up about 20 percent of our blood donations," she said.
Nearly 61,000 fewer much-needed blood donations were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in July.
While thousands of people have answered the call, levels are still low.
"We're still at a shortage. Right now we're operating at less than a five-day supply," she said.
The donation process takes just over an hour. Eligible donors are helping patients who need transfusions, battling cancer or in desperate need of a surgery.
"They donate every 56 days with blood or they may donate every 7 day platelets and they're just really committed to the call of being a blood donor. They know how important and impactful their blood donations are," she said.
To schedule an appointment to donate, use the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.
As a special thank you, those who come out to give blood or platelets with the Red Cross now through August 31 will be emailed a $5 Target eGiftCard™.