New York Blood Center looking to reverse significant downward decline in blood donors over the last decade.

MTA and Metro-North hold annual drive to call on commuters to replenish region’s critical blood supply

NEW YORK–New York Blood Center called on New Yorkers today to donate blood in the coming weeks at a 12-hour blood drive in Grand Central Terminal. The 7th annual Grand Central Blood Drive, hosted by the MTA and Metro-North, is the ideal backdrop to raise awareness for the need for blood donations.

New York Blood Center is looking to reverse a significant downward decline in blood donors over the last ten years. New data showed the number of red blood cell donors has dropped from 270,501 in 2015 to 185,856 in 2019, marking a 31 percent decrease (more info below). They are urging New Yorkers and residents from surrounding areas to become regular blood donors to help replenish the region’s blood supply.

Right now, blood supplies have reached critical lows, with all blood types dipping well below a seven-day reserve, including a one- to two-day supply of O- and B-. NYBC typically tries to maintain a seven-day reserve to ensure all patients and hospitals can access the blood they need.

Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director of Donor Recruitment & Marketing at the New York Blood Center, said, “While the number of blood donors has declined over the years, the desperate need for blood among patients and hospitals has not. We urge all New Yorkers to find a convenient blood drive or donor center to donate in the coming weeks. Or to stop by Grand Central today to give blood. In one hour, one person can donate one unit of blood to help save multiple lives.”

It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. Nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished.

Those in need include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more. Donors with O-negative blood type, or “universal donors,” are especially encouraged to attend, as their blood can be used in emergencies.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate, call NYBC at (800) 933-2566 or visit

TABLE: Number of Red Blood Cell Donors, 2010-2019

Fiscal Year Number of RBC Donors
2010 270,501
2011 261,270
2012 251,406
2013 239,425
2014 236,641
2015 218,124
2016 206,385
2017 212,362
2018 203,536
2019 185,856
10 Year Change -31%


About New York Blood Center: Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world. NYBC, along with its partner organizations Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 45 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD), the Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBC and its partners also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which — among other milestones — developed the Hepatitis B vaccine and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.

Note: Donor permission required for photographs.

CONTACT: Jennifer Barden (646) 676-4486/ [email protected]