TYLER, Texas (KETK) – On Thursday, KETK News recognized the East Texas chapter of the American Red Cross for their service and dedication to the community.

The Red Cross is made up of volunteers that use their time to help communities recover from disasters.

“We prepared for the pandemic before the pandemic got here and we have great volunteers who have adjusted what they do and we’ve just kept going and we haven’t dropped any of our services,” said Tammy Prater, Executive Director with the American Red Cross. “We’ve continued to do what we needed to do to help families here in East Texas,”

One big need the Red Cross needs help with is the donation of blood. According to Prater, the American Red Cross provides 40% of the nation’s blood supply and during the pandemic, they dropped by 10% due to blood drives getting canceled.

“We’re in a blood crisis,” Prater said. “There are shelves in the warehouse that are empty right now or close to empty and there is a danger of people not having the blood products that they need.”

On Saturday, the American Red Cross will have a blood drive in partnership with the Texas African American Museum, the East Texas Development Corporation and the East Texas Black Nurses Association.

“We are all coming together with North Tenneha Church of Christ and other faith-based organizations to make sure that we have enough blood donations on the shelves,” Prater said. “We’re especially hoping to get a lot of African-American donors because there’s such a need for sickle cell patients right now.”

The blood drive will be held at 1701 N Tenneha Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the blood drive click here.