The American Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before –  as well as those who haven’t given recently – to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.

St. Stephen’s Church, located at 351 Main Street, will host a local blood drive Thursday, June 15, from 1:30 to 7 p.m.

While the need for blood is constant during the summer months, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors. Nationwide, about 32 percent fewer new blood donors, and almost 47 percent fewer in Connecticut, came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. Additionally, many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.

While about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent of those eligible actually do. The blood donation process takes about an hour with the actual donation only taking about 10 minutes. 

“Every day, we have thousands of lives to help save, but blood and platelet donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand during the summer months,” said Alyson Barraza, communications program director, Connecticut Blood Services Region. “In less time than it can take to go out to eat, you can make a lifesaving difference for cancer patients, accident victims and others in need.”

Appointments can be scheduled by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).