Memphis is experiencing a blood shortage crisis. Here’s how you can help.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Blood donors are needed. Desperately.

David Williams, Regional Director with Vitalant, formerly Life Blood, says Memphis isn’t producing enough blood from local donors to meet demand.

“Memphis is donating a little more than 20,000 units of blood annually, but from other Vitalant regions we’re importing over 40,000 units of blood,” Williams said.

He says the shortage has been a growing problem for the last five years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it much worse.

“We’ve had so many blood drives that were cancelled or people who didn’t turn out for the blood drives that did take place,” Williams said.

At their east Memphis location Friday afternoon, only one donor showed up while we were there. Morgan Young came to donate blood to find out her blood type for a deeply personal reason.

“To see if I can donate a kidney to my father,” Young said. “He’s stage 4 renal failure due to diabetes and complications.”

Young knows the importance of donating.

“I’ve donated before with my mom in New York for HIV and AIDS awareness,” Young said.

Giving is especially critical now.

“This is really, really important, especially with the whole pandemic and everything,” Young said. “There are a lot of people who are at risk ,who have different disorders and diseases, can get access to what they need.”

One unit of blood can save up to three lives. It’s an easy way to make a crucial impact.

Vitalant is asking churches, employers and schools to host blood drives so they can meet the need. They’re asking people to take the extra few minutes and stop by one of their locations.

You can visit vitalant.org for more information.

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