As the country continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19, the American Red Cross is counting on the public to provide blood donations.
In Southington, donors came out to offer both their blood and support to those who need it.
Currently, the American Red Cross is experiencing a blood shortage. Blood donations are essential for cancer patients, accident victims and even those who may have a rare blood disorder, like 7-year-old Daniela Ciriello.
Daniela suffers from Beta Thalassemia, which means her body doesn't make enough red blood cells and she needs blood every three weeks to live.
Nicole Ciriello is Daniela's mother and said blood donations are critical for patients who are in need.
"Blood donations are Daniela's lifeline," said Ciriello. "She needs blood every three weeks to live and we count on it every month."
Each year, the American Red Cross organizes a blood drive in honor of Daniela. This year, donations are needed more than ever while the world deals with COVID-19.
The news of blood shortages brought a collection of first-time donors, like Todd Dallaire.
"The need is probably greater than ever right now," said Dallaire. "Hopefully, more people will come out and donate for a great cause."
Danielle Huntington is an Account Manager for the American Red Cross and works to organize the blood drive every year.
"The need is constant and right now it is critical," said Huntington. "There are so many people who need blood every single day,"
More than 90 units of blood were collected from this year's drive and is expected to save at least 270 lives.