To help address the current emergency blood shortage, all who come to give blood or platelets with the American Red Cross now through Aug. 29 will receive a $5 gift card via e-mail.

Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types available and less than a two-day supply of type O blood.

When an emergency arises, it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives.

Only through the generosity of blood donors can the Red Cross provide hospitals with life-saving blood to meet the ongoing and often, unpredictable needs of patients.

The need for blood is constant.

In the United States every two seconds blood is needed to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

What follows is a list of upcoming blood drives in Renville County communities:

• In Olivia, Aug. 5 from 12-6 St. Aloysius Church

• In Fairfax, Aug. 6 from 1-7 p.m. at the community center

• In Renville, Aug. 7 from 1-7 p.m. at the community center

• In Hector, Aug. 14 from 1-7 p.m. at First Lutheran Church

– Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross