Krispy Kreme says it will provide a dozen free glazed doughnuts to anyone who can prove they donated blood from Monday through the end of January.
The promotion follows an announcement from the Red Cross earlier this month that it is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Over the course of the pandemic, blood donations and blood drives have dropped off significantly — a problem that's been compounded in recent weeks by severe winter weather.
The Red Cross provides nearly 40% of the nation's blood supply, but donations are down 10% since March 2020. College and high school blood drives dropped 62% during the pandemic, the organization says.
In recent weeks, the Red Cross says it has had to limit blood distributions to hospitals as a result of the shortage. At times, the organizations says, up to a quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.
The scant supply has left doctors to make decisions on which patients need blood transfusions immediately, and which must wait until more supply is available. Blood and platelet donations are especially necessary for cancer patients, accidents victims and those with blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease.
At Krispy Kreme, people can prove they gave blood by showing their donation sticker or confirmation of donation in the Red Cross blood donor app. All types of blood are needed, especially O positive and O negative, according to the Krispy Kreme announcement. Those interested in donating can book an appointment on the Red Cross website.
"Our Red Cross teams are working around the clock to meet the needs of hospital patients but can't do it alone," said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of donor services for the American Red Cross, in a statement. "We hope this thank you from Krispy Kreme will help provide a 'dozen more reasons' for eligible individuals to make and keep their donation appointments in the days ahead."
It's not the first time Krispy Kreme has thrown its hat into the ring – or should we say doughnut – amid a public health crisis. After the Food and Drug administration granted full approval for a COVID-19 vaccine in August, Krispy Kreme offered two free doughnuts to vaccination card holders from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2021. The company also offered one free doughnut daily for the rest of the year.
Next month, another company will offer "thank you items" to blood donors, according to statement provided to NPR by the Red Cross. In February, those who donate blood, plasma or platelets with the Red Cross will be emailed a $10 Amazon gift card.