In response to a surging demand for blood donations, pop-up collection events are springing up across Fort Bend County. 

Cameron Palmer, spokesperson for the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (GCRBC), said there has been an increase in hospital usage for blood and blood products now that elective surgeries that were postponed in the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic have mostly returned, as well as surgeries for trauma patients. 

“Overall, we’ve seen about a 10 percent increase from our blood products and about an 8 percent increase just for red blood cells alone,” Palmer said.  

Sarah Goodman, another spokesperson for GCRBC, said the organization needs to collect 1,000 units (roughly a pint in volume) per day to meet the demand to supply the Houston region, which is anchored by the largest medical center in the U.S.

The organization typically receives between 800 and 1,200 units per day in donations - enough to supply enough blood for a day's supply, according to Palmer. But the donations wouldn't be enough to sustain demand for several days, he said.

Organization administrators hope to generate enough donations to maintain a reserve capacity of more than three days-worth of blood, in case a power outage or other disaster shuts down collections for any period of time, Palmer said.

Goodman added the blood shortages some facilities are experiencing are in part due to a reluctance of many at-home workers to venture out into the community. 

"Going in and having some kind of medical procedure taking place is scary enough,” Goodman said. “From having a swab shoved up your nose (for COVID-19 testing) it's scary to go then maybe have a needle put in your arm (for a vaccination). But from our experience, the majority of our donors come from people in the workplace and our high schools, and those were the two places that shut down over the last two years.” 

And with many adults still working from home because of the pandemic, Palmer said the GCRBC is encouraging at-home workers to donate blood twice in 2022. 

Palmer also said all GCRBC staff members are vaccinated and wear masks, donors are socially distanced whether they are at a brick-and-mortar donor center or at a mobile donation site. 

“We're trying to get the community to come out and try to get some more blood on the shelves,” Palmer said. 

Palmer said the GCRBC partners with hundreds of different businesses and organizations to host blood donation events. 

Shannon Maddasion, school director of Children’s Lighthouse in Richmond, represented one of the many Fort Bend County-based organizations who have partnered with GCRBC. She said there were six donors who gave blood at a Jan. 5 event at the early childhood school and daycare center. According to GCRBC, one blood donation has the potential to save three lives. 

Maddasion said Children’s Lighthouse usually has its blood drive events every six months, with the next one planned for June. 

Through Jan. 14, donors at GCRBC centers or partner sites received a Star Wars-themed hoodie for their blood donations. Goodman said people who donate blood twice this year can receive a $5 gift card for retailers like Starbucks and Amazon. 

In addition to the Sugar Land Neighborhood Donor Center, 4949 Sweetwater Blvd., there are several locations scheduled to hold blood drives in the coming days and weeks across Fort Bend County, according to GCRBC’s search tool. From 8 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Thursday, the Amazon facility in Fresno is hosting its pop-up drive.  

Cox Media Group is hosting a blood donation event from 10 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Saturday at 6113 Long Prairie Trace in Richmond. Cox and Best Buy are holding a blood drive from 3:30-6:45 p.m. on Monday at 24230 Commercial Drive in Rosenberg. 

Marshall High School in Missouri City is holding its blood drive from 8 a.m.-1:45 p.m. on Monday. 

To schedule a blood donation appointment or for more information,visit or call 713-791-6373.

(1) comment

Congressman Olson

That “blood donor” in the photo is ME! During my last year in Congress!

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