FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A nationwide blood shortage is hitting home.
Officials with the Central California Blood Center (CCBC) say they've seen a huge drop in donors since the pandemic started and worry they won't have much of a supply going into the summer months.
Now they're putting out an urgent call for help.
"We call our colleagues all the time looking for blood and looking to share blood when we have extra and literally no one has any excess blood right now. This is a time when we really need to rely on our community," said CCBC CEO Christopher Staub.
Officials say donor chairs at the center have remained empty throughout much of the pandemic while blood of all types, especially O-Positive and O-Negative are needed to fill bare storage shelves.
They add blood banks across the country are struggling to keep up with the demand because of the increased usage at hospitals.
"As we've been able to manage through the pandemic elective surgeries have come back, people needed those surgeries and they've had to get them. And just the use of blood has been surging in recent months," said Staub.
The center has tried to secure at least 5,000 units of blood a month during the pandemic, but it has fallen behind. Fortunately, local partners are stepping up to help.
"At the end of the day it's not just about our business, it's giving and find a way to give," said RWM Home Loans loan officer Tony Alvarez.
Officials with RWM Home Loans saw a need for donations and decided to coordinate with the Central California Blood Center to set up a mobile drive at their North Fresno office Thursday.
"The blood drives aren't happening aren't happening anywhere, not at the schools, not anywhere and they talked about one donation saves three lives so we want to do more things for the community. We just want to give and it's just part of it," said Alvarez.
Blood center staff members want to make it simple to donate.
They say the entire process takes about an hour, including the screening and paperwork.
If you're still on the fence about whether or not to donate, the Central California Blood Center is offering a number of incentives such as ice cream and gift cards when donating.
You can find more information here.