Anyone who donates blood or platelers with the American Red Cross through Aug. 29 will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card via email. Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types available and less than a two-day supply of type O blood, according to Red Cross spokesman Kelly Isenor.

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give now by activating Amazon’s Alexa Red Cross Blood Skill by saying, “Alexa, find a blood drive,” or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

When an emergency arises, it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives,” Isenor said. “Only through the generosity of blood donors can the Red Cross provide hospitals with lifesaving blood to meet the ongoing and often, unpredictable needs of patients.”

The need for blood is constant. In the United States every two seconds blood is needed to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease, she said.

With the help of a $1 million donation from Amazon, the Red Cross hopes to motivate donors to roll up a sleeve and alleviate the blood shortage across the country.

“We are grateful to Amazon for their support in addressing a ‘Right Now Need’ for blood donations,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Each donation truly matters to those counting on blood products to battle illness and injury. Today, we are asking the public to donate as soon as possible to ensure blood is available on hospital shelves for those in need.”

At any time, a patient can require an immense quantity of blood. For first-time mom Meghan Jolliffe, the need was immediate after suffering an amniotic fluid embolism. Her heart stopped beating for 14 minutes, and doctors had no time to waste. They needed to perform an emergency cesarean section. During delivery, her organs shut down, and her blood would not clot. Jolliffe needed multiple medical procedures that spanned a seven-hour period and received close to 100 units of blood from generous donors. Her newborn son, Sullivan, experienced complications after birth and would also need several units of blood. Collectively they received 109 units of blood.

“My family and I are forever grateful for the generosity of Red Cross volunteer blood donors,” said Jolliffe. “Donating blood is so important. You or a loved one may never need these lifesaving products, but I can assure you that someone, somewhere will.”

Blood transfusion is one of the most common inpatient hospital procedures in the U.S., and these blood products can only come from volunteer donors. Yet, only 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood.

Don’t wait to give

The Red Cross urges individuals across the country to roll up a sleeve today to ensure blood is available for patients across the country. A blood donation takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about 8-10 minutes.

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that 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 must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Bethel

7/30/2019: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Scalzo Group, 2 Stony Hill Road, Suite 101A

Bridgeport

8/13/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Congregation B'nai Israel, 2710 Park Avenue

Brookfield

8/14/2019: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Congregational Church of Brookfield, 160 Whisconier Road

8/6/2019: 1 p.m. - 6:15 p.m., Raymour & Flanigan, 14 Candlewood Lake Road

Danbury

7/29/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Hatters Town Park, 7 East Hayes Town Road

8/13/2019: 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Danbury Hospital RSM, 24 Hospital Avenue

Darien

8/9/2019: 1 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Darien Library, 1441 Post Road

Fairfield

7/31/2019: 1 p.m. - 6:45 p.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 1089 Fairfield Woods Road

8/13/2019: 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Whole Foods, 350 Grasmere Avenue

8/14/2019: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Congregation Beth El, 1200 Fairfield Woods Road

Greenwich

7/31/2019: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Greenwich Hospital, 5 Perryridge Road

8/5/2019: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Temple Sholom, 300 East Putnam Avenue

Newtown

8/4/2019: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., St. Rose of Lima School, 40 Church Hill Road

Norwalk

8/1/2019: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Avalon - East Norwalk, 8 Norden Place

8/9/2019: 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., East Norwalk Library, 51 Van Zant Street

Ridgefield

8/15/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., St. Mary's School, 183 High Ridge Avenue

Riverside

8/15/2019: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Walgreens, 1333 E Putnam Avenue

Shelton

7/30/2019: 8 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., R.D. Scinto Towers, 2 Corporate Drive

8/2/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Shelton Community Center, 41 Church Street

8/8/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes, 5 Lake Road

Sherman

8/3/2019: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Holy Trinity Church, 15 Route Center

Stamford

8/10/2019: 7:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court

8/13/2019: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Bobby Valentine's Sports Academy, 4 Largo Drive S

Trumbull

8/1/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Seaquest, Westfield Mall Trumbull, 5065 Main St

8/12/2019: 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Trumbull Library, 33 Quality Street

8/8/2019: 1:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m., Maefair Health Care Center, 21 Maefair Ct

Westport

8/14/2019: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road

Wilton

7/31/2019: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., The Greens at Cannondale, 435 Danbury Road.