COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Greater Columbus Chapter of the American Red Cross said it needs help after hitting an all-time low when it comes to blood donations.

Cory Paul, the executive director of the Greater Columbus chapter, said this is the lowest supply it has had in about a decade, partially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul said there’s a specific request to one group of people the Red Cross would like to see donate: universal donors.

“We don’t have that same population going into work every day or going into school every day,” Paul said. “We have to host these blood drives in the community places, in churches, in synagogues, in temples, in rec centers.”

Paul said the pandemic has really played a role in the shortage, from workplace blood drives not being held and people simply staying home. He said right now, supply is at an all-time low, and the Red Cross needs help from everyone.

“If you are a universal donor and you know that for sure, we’re absolutely looking at you,” he said. “But don’t count yourself out if you don’t know your blood type. A lot of people don’t. That’s OK, we will check you at the appointment.”

This is the time of year when the Red Cross typically rebounds with donations, but Paul said this fall is different due to the COVID-19 delta variant.

Nationwide, Paul said the Red Cross needs about 10,000 donors a week over the next few weeks to get the supply levels up to normal.

In an effort to strengthen the local blood supply, the organization is looking toward offering an incentive: the chance to win a trip to Hawaii.

“You also receive a $10 Amazon gift card from Nov. 1 through the 23, so there are some donor incentives that you can take advantage of and still have that sense of helping someone else, so it’s a win-win,” he said.

Local blood drives can be found online. Paul said there is likely one in your neighborhood. He added they take special COVID-19 precautions as well at the drives, with masks and cleaning a priority.

“Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving to the drive so we know how many folks are coming, how we can space them out, and giving everybody the best experience possible,” Paul said.

Past donors may be receiving a call asking them to donate once more.

For more information on how you can make a donation, click here.