The greatest concern facing the American Red Cross in the light of COVID-19 is the increased expenses for the organization to continue its lifesaving mission of providing more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
Nearly 80 percent of the blood the American Red Cross collects is from blood drives in office buildings, houses of worship and schools. As these facilities close, blood drives have been cancelled. The organization has been forced to redesign its model to continue meeting the critical demand of hospitals across the country. On March 17, 2020, Donegal was able to host a blood drive to help sustain the nation’s blood supply!
The American Red Cross will invest more than $125 million in frontline staff and the resources needed to safely collect, test and distribute blood. Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
The organization anticipates about $7 million in costs to make it safe and efficient for volunteers and staff to respond to disasters during this pandemic. Laptops and additional IT equipment to increase virtual assistance as well as hand-washing stations, critical hygiene items, enhanced cleaning, and accommodations in line with social distancing guidelines will be needed to protect disaster relief workers.
There is a critical need for financial support to ensure that the American Red Cross is able to fulfill its promise of helping people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.