BOISE — The American Red Cross is re-issuing its emergency call for blood donors to give now. In January, more than 4,600 Red Cross blood and platelet donations went uncollected as blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather.

The federal government shutdown also affected donations as more than 4 percent of Red Cross blood collections come from drives sponsored by military and local, state and federal government agencies. About 30 blood drives were canceled across the country, leaving more than 900 donations uncollected.

Right now, Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.

All eligible donors, especially with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients.

Upcoming local blood donation opportunities include:

  • Jerome — 12 to 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, 216 Second Ave. E.
  • Buhl — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 1629 Poplar St.

To make an appointment or for more information, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App or go to RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states — 16 with parental consent where allowed by state law — weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online — on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

For more information, go to RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

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