The Western New York region of the American Red Cross, which Broome County belongs to, is in a critical need of blood.

The American Red Cross, a not-for-profit humanitarian organization offering relief and support to those in crisis, has seen a drop in blood donations by 10 percent as fall approaches. Various factors including the back-to-school season and blood drive cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic are responsible for this decline, according to the Olean Times Herald. The American Red Cross is concerned that the continued effects of the Delta variant on the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s hurricane season will continue to lead to a decline in donations.

The American Red Cross accepts and needs donations of all blood types as well as plasma and platelet donations. In order to give blood, individuals must be in good health, over 16 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. Requirements differ for platelet and plasma donors. Conditions such as illness, certain medications and international travel may disqualify people from donating.

Donors in the area will receive a free coupon from Sport Clips Haircut throughout September, according to the Olean Times Herald.

Madison Dutton, a sophomore majoring in political science who has volunteered at an American Red Cross blood drive previously, said it is essential to donate blood, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a former [American] Red Cross volunteer, I cannot stress enough how important it is, especially during these times, to donate blood,” Dutton said. “This is a time to help save a life and a great opportunity to help serve the community.”

Recent blood drives have been held in the Binghamton, Vestal and Johnson City area. Upcoming blood drives in the Binghamton area include one on Monday, Sept. 13, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena.

Appointments can be scheduled through the American Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, at the Johnson City Red Cross Blood, Platelet and Plasma Donation Center and occasionally at other locations. Students can check the American Red Cross website to find a donation center and time most convenient for them.

The American Red Cross recommends that people unable to donate blood still contribute in ways such as hosting a blood drive, making a financial donation or becoming a volunteer.

Benjamin So, a sophomore majoring in history, stressed the importance of students to donating blood.

“You never know whose life you will change,” So said. “It is important to donate blood. Unfortunately we live in a time where blood isn’t in sufficient supply, and thousands [are] in desperate need each day. By donating, you support those in need, and could change their life forever. All it takes is 30 minutes to leave an impact.”