Legion Family encouraged to donate blood during national shortage
(Photo by Jeric Wilhelmsen)

Legion Family encouraged to donate blood during national shortage

Based on numbers provided by the 2022-2023 Consolidated Post Report – which included information submitted from more than 8,200 American Legion posts – more than 100,000 units of blood were provided by nearly 60,000 Legion Family donors.

Sinc then, members of the Legion Family stepped up during a two-day Red Cross blood drive during the 104th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Over the course of the two-day blood drive, 37 Legion Family members donated. And the Legion’s annual Holiday Blood Donor Drive just wrapped up its annual effort.

But though the holidays are over, the need for blood donations are at a critical level. Earlier this week, the American Red Cross said it is experiencing an emergency blood shortage, due to seeing the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years.

The Red Cross supplies approximately 40 percent of the nation’s blood donations. Dr. Eric Gehrie, a medical director at the American Red Cross, told ABC News that when hospitals don't have a full blood bank, patients who need transfusions may have delays, surgeries may be rescheduled and it may result in more of a struggle for patients with rare blood types to find donors that match.

"There is more need for blood at hospitals than we are able to provide at current donation levels and this is an issue that is really ... a long-term problem," he told ABC News.

The need for blood donations is at a critical level, which is why donations through The American Legion Blood Donor Program can make a huge impact right now.

The American Legion Blood Donor Program originated in 1942 when members were asked to give blood locally to fulfill domestic needs as much-needed plasma was shipped overseas to supply U.S. military troops in World War II. Over the years, The American Legion grew to become the nation’s top organizational donor of blood for the Red Cross.

If your American Legion post, district or department is interested in hosting a blood drive in your community, the American Red Cross recommends visiting this link to learn more about how to start the process. Additional information about blood donations can also be found at:

-      American Red Cross, redcrossblood.org

-      American Association of Blood Banks, aabb.org

-      Council of Community Blood Centers, givingblood.org

The American Legion Blood Donor Program recognizes departments in two areas for blood donation efforts: post participation and individual Legionnaire participation. Post participation awards are given to departments with the highest number of participating posts. Individual participation awards are given to departments with the highest percentage of individuals giving blood to the program.