The nation’s blood supply has never been lower, and Community Blood Center (CBC) is urgently calling for donors.

“In the greater Kansas City area, we’ve seen a drop of over 2000 donors in the last five years,” said Chelsey Smith with Community Blood Center. “Actually, when we go back 10 years, it’s even worse. We’re seeing a drop of 21,000 donors.”

In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished.

“Additionally, we’ve seen a drop in first-time donors,” said Smith. “That’s been a drop over the past decade of 12,000 donors just in Kansas City alone. High school and college donors, those donors we look at as the future of our donor pool.”

If you want to donate for the first time, it’s simple and it won’t take long.

“You’ll show up, bring a photo ID, we’ll get you registered,” said Smith. “Then, you’re going to hop into a history booth, where you’re going to answer some questions about yourself and about your medical history. Then, you’ll sit in the booth with one of our staff members who will do sort of a mini physical on you. We’ll test the iron in your blood. We’ll do blood pressure, temperature, things like that. Step four, you’re going to hop on a bed and you’re actually going to donate blood.”

A healthy donor may donate every 56 days.