‘Severe blood shortage,’ Red Cross says

A severe blood shortage is resulting in the American Red Cross urging donors to give blood now.

The Red Cross hopes donors give blood now, which will avoid delays for patients and will stop the shortage from getting worse this winter.

Joe Zydio, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said it is unprecedented for the Red Cross to come out with this type of message at this time of the year. Often, the Red Cross sees a shortage starting in mid-December, leading to emergency appeals Jan. 8, he said.

“This year, we’ve been impacted badly,” Zydio said. Hurricane Florence, in particular, resulted in a shortage of 9,000 to 10,000 donations in the Carolinas, he said.

“There are 21,000 fewer donations” now nationwide, he said. Hurricane Michael also was a factor in the shortage. In addition, there were fewer blood drives in September and October.

With the possibility of snow and busy holidays in the coming months, the Red Cross would like donors to give early.

All blood types are needed, especially type O, and platelet donors. Donors may make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). There also is a Red Cross Blood app that will tell donors the closest blood drive.

Two Wyandotte County blood drives are scheduled in the coming weeks, and donors also may donate blood at other mobile locations.

The two upcoming Wyandotte County blood drives include 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at Dave and Buster’s, 1843 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 8 at Cabela’s, 10300 Cabela Drive, Kansas City, Kansas.

For other locations of blood drives in the area, visit www.redcrossblood.org.

As an incentive for donors, the Red Cross will give away a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, to those who donate blood from Nov. 21 to Nov. 24.

NAACP to meet today

The Kansas City, Kansas, Branch of the NAACP will meet on Nov. 13 at 21 N. 12th St., Suite 230, Kansas City, Kansas.

The meeting was changed from Nov. 6 because of Election Day.

The branch election of officers and executive committee will be from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by the regular executive committee meeting at 6 p.m., and the regular membership meeting at 7 p.m.

Members are encouraged to participate in the branch election and regularly monthly meetings.

Census Bureau gears up for decennial count

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by Murrel Bland

Article One, Section Two of the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to carry out a census in “such manner as they shall by Law direct.” The first census was carried out by U.S. marshals in 1790 when there 3,929,214 persons in the United States.

Alan Organ, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, explained this fact and other information Friday morning, Nov. 9, at a meeting of about 25 members of the Legislative Committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce. Organ said that it will be important for everyone to be counted and urged chamber members to cooperate with the Census Bureau.

Organ, a medical doctor who taught at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, said he has met with Mayor David Alvey and the mayor has assured him of his cooperation. The mayor has appointed Gordon Criswell, an assistant county administrator, to assist in this effort.

Organ said he is working with other community organizations including El Centro and faith-based entities.

One of the main reasons that it is important that every person is counted is that the census data is used in distributing federal funds. Those funds for fiscal year 2015 for Kansas totaled more than $4.4 billion, according to a report from the George Washington University Institute for Public Policy. Those funds came from several federal departments including Health and Human Services, Transportation, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Education.

Organ said census forms will be mailed to everyone’s home. If the form is not returned, a census worker will follow up to get the form. It is estimated that by Census Day, April 1, 2020, there will be about 350 million persons in the United States. The 2010 census counted 308,745,538 persons.

The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It has several temporary jobs including recruiting assistants, clerks, field supervisors and census takers. A typical job pays about $33,000 a year. Persons interested in applying for a job may telephone 1-855-562-2020.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.