The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations nationwide last week. The need is felt locally as Great Falls Red Cross officials say they've noticed a season decline in both donors and sponsors.
Scott Shanahan with the Red Cross says donations drop during the summer months because many high school, college and university campuses are closed .
He also says there are less opportunities to host blood drives at businesses or sponsor locations due to the number of seasonal commitments that come with summer.
During weeks like the 4th of July, the Red Cross reported nearly 700 fewer blood drives than an average week.
The organization says that's the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting donations nationwide for more than a day.
Shanahan says their shortage falls in line with the national emergency call as area donations have seen a decline each summer.
"We really rely on first time donors to come out and donate and last summer we had 1/3 less first time donors than we ever had before," said Shanahan.
The Red Cross has reported 61,000 fewer donations than needed nationally this year.
They say the shortage is equal to the organization not collecting any blood donations for four days or more.
To schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/locations/great-falls-donor-center.