OSCEOLA COUNTY — The American Red Cross encourages all eligible blood donors to make an appointment to donate blood soon to help prevent a shortage.

During the summer months, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what is needed to meet the needs of patients. Vacations and summer activities are among the reasons regular donors may not find the time to give. Patients, however, do not get a vacation from needing blood — the need is constant.

As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed. By donating blood or platelets through the Red Cross, donors may be helping patients in their community or patients across the nation.

Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, so they must constantly be replenished.

To learn more and make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Here is a list of upcoming blood drives in Mecosta and Osceola counties:

  • From noon to 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, at The Gate, located at 706 Perry Ave. in Big Rapids
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at Evart United Methodist Church, located at 619 Cherry St. in Evart
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, at the Big Rapids First United Methodist Church, located at 304 Elm St. in Big Rapids
  • From 1 to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Stanwood Eagles, located at 7200 Stanwood Road in Stanwood
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Ferris State University West Campus Community Center, locat at 1414 Family Drive