America is experiencing a critical shortage of blood for use in emergency transfusions and surgical procedures. The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for donations, and now it’s incentivizing donors with something just a little sweeter than cookies and orange juice – an Amazon gift card.
According to the Red Cross, summer is often a dry season for blood donations, as vacations and holidays lead to fewer blood drives, and to regular donors giving less blood. As reported by USA Today, that has left the Red Cross with less than the five-day supply it aims to keep on hand for major emergencies. The nonprofit says it experienced a shortfall of 56,000 donations in May and June, and a “tough July 4th holiday week.”
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The Red Cross is hoping to incentivize new donors, or those who haven’t donated in a while, by offering a $5 Amazon gift card to those who give between July 30 and August 30. Though all blood types are needed, the Red Cross says Type O donors are particularly vital, because their blood can be given to patients with a wider variety of blood types.
Blood donations can be scheduled at redcrossblood.org. The Red Cross is also recommending that potential donors fill out an online health survey to speed the donation process.
Update 7/31: This article has been updated with a statement from the Red Cross.