Red Cross faces critical blood shortage amid severe winter weather

Severe winter weather has impacted the transport of lifesaving blood products, exacerbating ongoing blood shortage.

The American Red Cross continues to grapple with an emergency blood shortage, further intensified by severe winter weather across the nation. The organization urges blood donors to give now to ensure that lifesaving medical procedures are not delayed. 

The nation is currently facing the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. The national blood supply remains critically low, with blood drives cancelled in nearly every state  the Red Cross collects blood. As a result, almost 15,000 blood and platelet donations have gone uncollected in the month of January. Dangerous road conditions and widespread flight and shipping delays have hampered the movement of vital blood products across the Red Cross network, affecting deliveries to hospitals in some areas.  

When fewer people donate blood, any disruption to blood donations – like recent weather systems – can have a significant effect on the availability of blood products, leading to dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusions. 

A map detailing how many blood drives have been cancelled, courtesy of the Red Cross.

In response to the crisis, the Red Cross has launched a new Blood Donor Rewards program. This program offers a new way for the Red Cross to thank donors for their generous donations, which are critical to patients counting on lifesaving care. All donors will now earn points for their donations that accumulate each time they donate. Donors automatically started earning points on Jan. 1, 2024, and they can redeem points any time of year to receive e-gift cards, or save them to redeem and claim an exclusive Red Cross merchandise item in the next calendar year. 

As the country anticipates warmer weather this President’s Day week, individuals are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets. Donors can schedule an appointment using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a token of appreciation, all donors who give from Feb. 1-29, 2024, will receive a $20 Gift Card via email. 

The American Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or