The American Red Cross of Washtenaw County is teaming up with libraries in Dexter and Chelsea to host two blood drives during the holidays.
The will hold a blood drive from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday in the lower-level meeting rooms. The Red Cross will collect whole blood, which will be used to help individuals in southeast Michigan who need transfusions during surgeries, as a result of accidents or as a part of ongoing medical treatments, the library said in a press release.
"We're always in need of blood donations, especially during this time of the year," said Mark Huizenga, blood services coordinator for the Red Cross. "We typically see less donations now — not because people don't want to donate, but simply because it is not in the forefront of their mind during the holidays."
Huizenga said that luckily, there hasn't been a lot of harsh winter weather in the county, which often deters people from donating.
"Once we start seeing more snow and ice, we're really going to be relying on donations from communities like Chelsea and Dexter," he said.
Typically, each blood drive yields 25-30 pints, with 900 pints of blood needed each day in southeast Michigan, Huizenga said.
"Right now, we're low on type O-negative and Type A-negative blood, but we could use all types," he said.
While new donors are encouraged to drop in throughout the afternoon Friday, Huizenga said the Red Cross prefers to schedule appointments online or by phone in order to ensure it has enough nurses on hand to avoid long donor wait times.
Anyone 17 and older in good health is eligible to donate blood. For those donating blood for the first time, expect the process to take between 60-90 minutes, Huizenga said.
"The actual process of giving blood only takes 8-12 minutes, but everyone has to go through a mini health screening and answer some questions to determine their eligibility," Huizenga said.
For those who haven't made an appointment for today's drive in Dexter, another drive will take place at the Chelsea District Library from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday. Information on upcoming blood drives is also available online by visiting the Red Cross website at redcrossblood.org.
"Giving blood is a simple way to help out others who are in need during the holidays," Huizenga said.