A significant blood shortage not only in New York City, but across the nation has blood centers in our area scrambling for donations.

At the New York Blood Center location in the Port Authority, NY1 found Hofstra University Professor Dave Flynn of the Upper West Side relaxing and reclining.

What You Need To Know

  • New York Blood Center says it only has enough blood to supply area hospitals for three days. Pre-pandemic, they could supply blood for five to seven days

  • Blood Center officials say holiday season is typically one of the slowest times of the year for blood donations

  • NYBC has partnered with the city to increase awareness and try to entice 25,000 New Yorkers to donate blood between now and the end of the year by entering them in a sweepstakes for prizes

"Why not on my days off do something to give back?" said Flynn.

He told us it's easy to forget that a pint of blood is being drawn from his veins.

"If this wasn't here, it would be the same!" Flynn said.

Flynn's blood type is O-positive, the most common and therefore the most needed by blood banks. 

Flynn donates his blood about every two months, but the New York Blood Center says it needs many more donors to step up soon.

“We urgently need the community to come out,” said Andrea Cefarelli, senior Executive director for the New York Blood Center. 

Before the pandemic, the New York Blood Center was able to offer a five- to seven-day supply of blood to area hospitals. 

But with many office buildings, churches, and schools no longer hosting blood drives because of the pandemic, hospitals have had just a three-day supply for the last several months.

One problem is the holiday season is usually the slowest time of year for blood donations. There are now concerns the blood supply may be reduced even further.

Enter Anne Lilly. She's a teacher from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

"It's been maybe a couple of years. I been thinking about it," said Lilly, "and when the mayor issued the call yesterday, I was like, 'Let's do this. I have the day off. Let's go do it. It's time.'"

Lilly was referring to Mayor de Blasio, who announced this week that the city is partnering with the New York Blood Center in trying to entice at least 25,000 New Yorkers into donating blood before the end of the year. The mayor said donors will entered in a sweepstakes with prizes.

"Just this morning, I scheduled my appointment and here I am!" said Rachel Perkins, a therapist from Harlem.

Sweepstakes or not, Perkins says she will try to donate blood more often moving forward. 

Her blood type is O-negative, which is highly prized, because it is can be used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown.

"It's the one they want," Perkins says, "So, I should do it more." 

Blood Center officials also tell NY1 that while they used to be able to rely on other non-profit blood centers around the nation for help when blood was in short supply, that is no longer the case due to the crippling effects of COVID-19 nationwide.

To find the donation center that's most convenient for you, can log on to nybloodcenter.org.