CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with the American Red Cross want you to give blood this holiday season.

“We know the holidays can be hectic, but it takes a little more than an hour of your time (to donate blood) and it could help up to three patients,” said Marianne Spampinato, communications manager for the American Red Cross.

Spampinato said, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, no matter the season.

“There are a whole lot of reasons why people need blood,” she said.  “Especially this time of year, with more people on the road, we want to be prepared for traumas that may take place.”

On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

In recent weeks, Spampinato said they’ve seen a decline in donations across West Virginia which she attributed to a combination of packed schedules, winter weather and illnesses like the flu since people who are sick cannot donate.

Between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3, those who donate blood at an American Red Cross drive will receive a two ounce brick of coffee and a coupon redeemable for one free pound of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts while supplies last.

To find a blood drive, you can go online to or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, 1-800-733-2767.

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  • Marianne Spampinato/Red Cross

    Since 1960, the Red Cross has been reimbursed by hospitals for the costs associated with providing blood to hospital patients. The Red Cross recovers only the costs associated with the recruitment and screening of potential donors; the collection of blood by trained staff; the processing and testing of each unit of blood in state-of-the-art laboratories; and the labeling, storage, and distribution of blood components. Hospitals may have their own additional charges related to the administration of blood and may pass on these costs to their patients.

    The Red Cross discontinued participating in "lifetime donor" program many years ago because such systems discriminate against patients who are not able to donate or do not have family who could donate blood on their behalf. The Red Cross provides equal access to blood for all, regardless of a blood recipient’s ability to donate.

  • joe

    When you return to the former policy of, "your family will be covered free if they need blood", only then will I start giving blood to the Red Cross again. The hospitals also need to be brought into line with all the extra fees they add on when accepting family blood; in other words people show some humility.