Grand Island was a participating town in the Communities that Care blood drive for the American Red Cross on Dec. 27.
In all, Islanders donated 41 units of blood at Grand Island Fire Co. headquarters. The drive is one the Red Cross plans to do every year on the Island around the holidays, when donations lag.
"We really need the help around this of year," said Sara Harvey, account manager, donor services, for the American Red Cross. "People don't think about donating and how important it is."
Summer is another slow time for donations, Harvey said. A healthy person can donate blood every 56 days, she said.
"A lot of people donate once and then they don't donate again. They think their job is done because they've done it once, but it's an ongoing thing and the need is always there," Harvey said.
An estimated 20 percent of people who are admitted to the hospital need blood, such as cancer patients, burn victims and premature babies, Harvey said.
"Every day in the hospital somebody is using the blood, but only about 5 percent of the eligible population donates," she said.
The next American Red Cross blood drive on the Island is Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus. The next drive at the GIFC is Tuesday, March 6, from 1 to 6:30 p.m.
The record on GI for a one-day blood drive is 94 units, collected Sept. 12, 2001, a day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Part of the task for the Red Cross is to publicize the availability of blood drives, so that it won't take another emergency to spur the public to donate.
"The more people that participate, the more that we get the word out," said Lisa Highway, Red Cross recruitment manager. "The more they know of the drive, then the more they're willing to help us."
"If people are looking for more opportunities to donate, they can visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS for dates/locations of drives in the area," Harvey said.