DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A late season hurricane and upcoming holidays have threatened America’s blood supply.

The Red Cross sent blood to northeast hospitals as the winds from Hurricane Sandy started to die down. Now they need to restock the nation’s emergency supply of life giving blood in a time of year when it’s always difficult to keep supplies up.

“We get tied up with holiday shopping up, with family gatherings so it’s always a difficult time to collect blood,” American Red Cross Donor Recruitment Representative Melissa Adger explained.

The Dallas-Fort Worth CBS RADIO and CBS Television Stations are partnering for the Wednesday blood drive at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. CBS is doing their part to try and head off a blood shortage that typically occurs in November and December.

The Red Cross is in charge of the national supply.  But a disaster, like Hurricane Sandy, can empty their shelves overnight. And restocking the blood supply is done a pint at a time, with every volunteer taking about an hour to make a donation.

The need for blood never takes a holiday. Every two seconds someone in this country needs blood in an emergency situation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a 56 day wait before a donor can give blood again. So that means, “The people who stepped up to the plate and donated to help the relief on the east coast…are now not eligible to donate for the holidays. They have to wait until January,” said Adger.

In terms of blood Red Cross officials think Hurricane Sandy cost them about 12,000 units, the amount normally donated this time of year along the northeast coast.  To compensate other areas of the country will need to make up the difference.

Millions are trying to move beyond the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The holidays are ahead for them… and everyone else.  But also ahead the stress on a blood supply that dare not fall behind.

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