With recent heat waves oppressing the area and many local residents leaving town for summer vacations, representatives of the American Red Cross say that donations are currently in high demand.
"The summer months are typically a time when blood donations tend to drop 10-15% due to travel, planned activities, and the absence of high school and college blood drives," said Jaime Barnard, an account manager for Red Cross. "This makes maintaining the blood supply even more challenging."
Needham residents will have two chances to donate in town over the next couple of weeks. The first Needham Community Blood Drive is being held on from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Norfolk Lodge. On July 30, another blood drive will be conducted at the television studios of WCVB-TV from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Barnard relates that all blood types are needed with an emphasis on types O negative, A negative and B negative. To sweeten the pot, Red Cross will be giving out coupons for a free carton of Friendly's ice cream to anyone who donates at either event.
"Our goal for most blood drives in the Needham area is to collect 30-50 pints of blood," said Barnard "The 2nd & 5th Masonic Districts drive on Sunday is one of our largest in the area, with a goal of 70. We are hoping to collect 50 units at the WCVB-TV blood drive on July 30th."
Barnard believes that time of extended hot weather, like the weeks that have recently passed in Needham, often discourage people from donating because it is hard to get them out of their air conditioned homes and businesses.
"Red Cross may begin to see an even bigger decline in the number of blood donors than in a typical summer," she said.
Those interested in donating blood must be deemed healthy by Red Cross, at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 lbs. More information can be found at redcrossblood.org.
"Each pint of blood is separated into three components, meaning one donation may save as many as three lives," Barnard said. "One person truly can make a difference."