WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The American Red Cross has declared a blood emergency. So far this month, blood donations are down more than 10 percent across the nation.
Here in Wilmington, Red Cross Blood Center Coordinator Shannon Jordan says summers are always a slower season for donations, but this year, numbers are especially low.
"This year we are in an extremely emergency situation, because we are 50,000 units shorter than we expected right now," Jordan said. "We also, over the country, are at a 10-percent downfall of what we need to be able to keep the hospital supplied at what they need."
Jordan says the Red Cross may be losing donors because many people are involved in summer activities and overlook opportunities to donate blood. The organization also loses donors in the summer because they don't conduct blood drives at area high schools or at UNCW.
To promote their efforts, the Cape Fear Chapter of the Red Cross held a grill-out today to encourage donors to come out and give blood.
"If I needed to go to the hospital, I would hope that there would be enough blood supply for me, so this is what I do to make sure there is enough for everybody," donor Kathy Benson said.
The Red Cross urges people to take time from their busy schedules to donate and help save lives.
"I can't think of anything else that takes an hour where you can save up to three lives, and I mean it doesn't take anything but your time, and it's really needed, especially this time," Red Cross Recruitment Representative Michelle Waters said.
Jordan says all eligible donors of all blood types are needed.
You can donate at the American Red Cross office on 16th Street in Wilmington or contact the Red Cross for information on blood drives near you.