A blood drive this week came at a time when supplies are low and demand high, according to the Central California Blood Center.
"At this time of year, blood usage is high due to weather-related accidents, and donations are often lower due to the flu season," said Chris Sorensen, director of community relations and development for Central California Blood Center, in a news release.
The Fresno-based blood bank supplies 31 hospitals, including Memorial Hospital Los Banos, and facilities in Merced, Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties.
Students and staff at Los Banos High School organized a drive Tuesday that was expected to produce about 130 units. The Associated Student Body gathered the names of 80 students before the event.
Darla Silvera, a donor recruiter, said she visits Los Banos about once a month to organize blood drives. The blood bank's reserves are down to about 39 percent, because of influenza and other respiratory illnesses, she said.
"This January's been the worst we've had in so long," Silvera said, adding universal blood type O negative is down to 38 percent.
"We have a lot of O negs in Los Banos, so anytime we're here we try to call all the O negs," she said.
Silvera is looking to add businesses or nonprofits that would like to host blood drives in Los Banos. She said any drive that produces 25 units in Los Banos would make a bloodmobile trip to town worthwhile.
"Because (Los Banos) is so far to a blood center, if we don't come here, they don't donate," she said.
Donors must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with written parental consent. Senior citizens can donate, and all donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water within four hours before giving blood.
Blood has a shelf life of 52 days and donors can give blood about every 56 days. A photo ID and Social Security number are required at donor registration.
Silvera said groups interested in hosting should contact her at (559) 288-6319.
The next scheduled drive is from 3 to 6:30 p.m. March 21 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1826 Center Ave.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.