Since the beginning of July, the American Red Cross has been in dire need of blood donations. They only have less than a three-day supply of most blood types and only a two-day supply of O-positive and O-negative blood, according to Alana Mauger, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Blood Services of Penn-New Jersey.

A minimum of a five-day supply of blood is needed at all times so it can be distributed to hospital patients.

With July wrapping up, Mauger said blood donations are starting to pick up but supply levels remain low. In the past week, however, the American Red Cross has seen an increase in the number of blood donation appointments.

Fewer people are giving blood these days, said Mauger. In the past four years, there has been a decline in new blood donors. While blood is needed all year, she said summertime is especially challenging.

The American Red Cross collects 20% of blood donations in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey region from high school and college blood drives. So those don't typically happen in the summer with classes not in session.

Employers who hold blood drives during the course of the year, shy away from having them in the summertime when so many employees taking time off.

"We really are in need of all blood types. That is 100% fact. If you are an O-positive or O-negative donor, you are especially needed," said Mauger.

O-positive can be transfused to patients of any positive RH type and O-negative is the universal type. Currently, there is only a two-day supply of O-negative blood.

While The American Red Cross has been trying to educate people on the importance of giving blood and how there's no substitute for it, the organization has been partnering up with companies to offer some incentives to potential donors.

From July 29 to Aug. 29, Amazon is partnering with he American Red Cross to giving donors $5 gift cards. In August, Dunkin' Donuts in the Philadelphia metro area will be offering a coupon to blood donors for a free medium iced coffee and a free classic doughnut.

To find a blood drive near you or make an appointment, go to www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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