CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The American Red Cross says donations are picking up a little in recent months but donors still aren’t coming out to give as much blood as is needed.

Leaders at the Red Cross say the pandemic has been a challenge with new donor recruitment down more than 30%. Like with many other organizations across the country, staffing shortages have also been a factor. A few drives have been called off because there weren’t enough people to work.

“It is a lot of work to put on any blood drive,” said Erica Mani, Chief Executive Officer at American Red Cross West Virginia Region.

“It takes people behind the scenes. It takes those phlebotomists that are right there drawing the blood. It takes volunteers who are at the front of the blood drive to make sure people know where to go and how to sign in. It takes the people doing your medical screening and history and of course those who are working with you after.”

Throughout the pandemic, the American Red Cross has been testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. That will end next week on June 3.

In the meantime, they are looking at creative ways to recruit donors by offering prize drawings and e-gift cards to donors in June.

The Red Cross will hold an Expo in Huntington, WV next week. They won’t be taking blood donations at that event but will be giving the community an opportunity to learn hands-free CPR and to see what services are offered by the Red Cross.