The extreme weather that Kansas has had over the course of the winter has taken a toll on the state’s blood supply.

“We need at least 500 donations every day to meet our hospitals’ needs,” said Chelsea Tibbetts, director of donor recruitment for the Community Blood Center. “Anytime that there’s winter weather that keeps our donors out of the doors, we fully understand why they wouldn’t come in, but we do suffer and those units just don’t happen back on the shelf.”

Blood is one of those commodities where people are necessary.

“Blood cannot be manufactured,” said Tibbetts. “It has to be donated by donors. Even our mobile units that we go out and we actually go to people’s businesses and to their schools to host blood drives, in the bad weather, those get cancelled, as well.”

Even if you’ve never donated before, doing so is simple.

“Really, all you need to do to prepare is eat well, take care of your body, get a good night’s sleep and drink a lot of water,” said Tibbetts. “It really is not very difficult. It’s an hour of your time and it really does save up to three lives, which is really incredible.”

All types of blood are needed. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished.