Emergency Blood Shortage Declared After Ice Storm Preparations Disrupt Donations

Jan 16, 2017

There didn’t end up being much ice this weekend, but Winter Storm Jupiter still had a big impact on one Kansas City-area nonprofit.

“It wasn’t as bad as anyone thought it was going to be, but the preparations were there,” Community Blood Center Executive Director David Graham says. “We had blood drives canceled in anticipation of travel being impacted.”

All told, Graham estimates some 500 units of blood weren’t collected.

“That’s about a day’s supply for us, and that hurts at this time of year when supplies are already low,” says Graham.

So far it’s been a rough winter for the blood bank – inclement weather and illness always impact donations, but this year the Community Blood Center struggled to bounce back from a low-volume November.

The blood bank declared an emergency shortage last month and again on Monday after stockpiles of some blood types dipped below a two-day supply. Typically, the Community Blood Center tries to keep a five-day supply of all blood types.

Graham encouraged people looking for service projects to honor Martin Luther King Jr. to donate blood.

“You’re giving back in a way any of us can give,” he said. “It doesn’t require writing a large check. It doesn’t require anything other than your time. I can’t think of a more personal gift than giving your blood to save the life of somebody else.”

You can make an appointment to donate on the Community Blood Center’s website.

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.