In times of need, people come together to support one another.

The American Red Cross is asking for healthy individuals to step up to help patients who are experiencing health crises by donating blood or platelets.

As COVID-19 continues to affect everyday life, people may not be thinking about blood donation, but blood and platelets are needed daily to help patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.

Donating blood is an easy way to care for each other and ensure hospitals have the blood products patients rely on.

As a thank you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, all who come to give blood or platelets May 15-31 will receive a special Red Cross “We’re all in this together” T-shirt, by mail, while supplies last.

Donors must have a valid e-mail address on file in order to claim their T-shirt.

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate this May by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public guidance.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to safeguard donors, volunteers and employees.

The Red Cross is also looking for blood drive hosts to help ensure a stable blood supply.

Learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive by visiting RedCrossBlood.org.

What follows is a list of upcoming blood drives in the area:

• In Redwood Falls May 27 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., at the Redwood County government center in the training room. Call (507) 637-4016 to make an appointment for this event.

• In Walnut Grove May 28 from 2-7 p.m. at the community center. For more information, call (507) 747-2519.

- Image courtesy of the American Red Cross Web site