REPUBLIC, Mo.– After an urgent call for blood donors, people in Republic are looking to help.

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks issued a critical appeal this week for all blood types. On Wednesday, June 22, community members in Republic showed up to donate during a blood drive at the Parks & Recreation Center.

“I read an article that talked about the blood shortages and how important it is,” said first-time donor James Stephenson. “I put it on my to-do list and now I’m here.”

Blood drive organizers said first-time donors are exactly who they are looking for right now.

“In the summer, the need is up for blood, and donations coming in, is down,” said Michelle Teter, CBCO Media Relations Representative. “We rely on about 40 percent of donations from high school and college students. We aren’t doing those drives right now. With tragedies and more travel during the summer, the need for blood is up.”

While shortages seem to be impacting a lot of things, Teter said blood isn’t something you can find an alternative for.

“Low toilet paper, low baby formula, we’re low on blood, but this isn’t something we can go and get more blood from somewhere else,” said Teter. “We need the people in the area to step up.”

It takes about an hour to donate blood.

“One thing that you have to do is empathize with who needs it,” said Macy Mitchell, Republic Chamber Director. “You kind of put yourself in their shoes.”

There is an emergency blood drive scheduled for Thursday at Mercy Hospital from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in donating blood can also schedule an appointment on their website.