Donors show up for the Red Cross blood drive as it reaches dangerously low supply levels

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Red Cross is facing a dangerously low blood supply with its smallest levels in more than a decade.

The blood drive at the Tripoli Shrine Center on Wednesday, Dec. 29 is the Red Cross' largest Milwaukee blood drive.

About 250 people will each donate one pint of blood, and that is something that money can't buy.

"It's a constant need, said Maria Varela.  "People need blood and I'm a 'healthy' person."

Varela said she usually tries to donate blood a couple of times a year. It's a gift that she knows is priceless.

"My dad he had a stroke five years ago,  and sometimes he's needed blood," said Varela. 

The Red Cross teamed up with the Milwaukee Radio Alliance for the blood drive. 

"We're coming from a season when we typically are able to replenish the shelves with blood, but we haven't seen that same turn out from the fall into the winter-time now," said Justin Kern with the American Red Cross of Wisconsin. 

As the weather worsens and the pandemic persists the need going into the New Year is likely to grow.

According to the Red Cross the average blood cell transfusion requires about three pints of blood.

As an extra push to get people out, donors got some thank you gifts like a red cross t-shirt, a Marcus movie pass, cake and a pint of ice cream.

Kern encourages people to come donate if they can. He said whether it's your first time or 100th time, the Red Cross team will walk you through the process. 

Here is a list of places to donate blood to the Red Cross. 

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