The American Red Cross is offering blend for blood.
People who donate a pint of blood at the Red Cross Donation Center on Everett Road in Albany during the next couple of weeks will receive a free pound of Dunkin’ Donuts original blend coffee. The exchange started Friday.
The Red Cross needs fresh blood supplies. Last week, organization officials said snowstorms and cold weather have canceled scores of drives across the country.
Coffee for blood is an extension of the “Give a Pint, Get a Pound” campaign that has been sponsored by Dunkin’ since 2008. During the program, held each January at Red Cross donation centers in New York and other Northeastern states, blood donors receive a voucher good for a package of DD ground coffee.
Dunkin’ Donuts has kicked in 500 pounds of bagged coffee for the Everett Road center. Coffee gifts are also being offered at Red Cross centers in Binghamton, Syracuse and Buffalo.
“It’s a huge help, especially locally,” said Aric Aery, district director for the Red Cross. “Since January, we’re down close to 700 units. Since Feb. 1, there have been 400 units that have gone uncollected.”
Canceled drives have been the reason.
“Each blood drive has a goal, and when that blood drive gets canceled, those units are considered uncollected,” Aery said. “Those are lost donation opportunities.”
Aery believes the coffee will go quickly. “I would guesstimate a couple of weeks,” he said, adding prospective donors can make an appointment by calling 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767) or visiting www.redcrossblood.org.
Local franchise owners decided to extend the pint-for-pound program.
“Our local owners came to me, they heard about it here in Albany,” said Eric Stensland, field marketing manager for Dunkin’ Donuts. “They said, ‘How can we help the Red Cross with the shortage?’ They stepped up and I said ‘Let’s make the donation.’ ”
Donating blood — the process includes an interview and brief recovery session — takes 45 minutes to an hour.
On Friday, Daniel Putnam, 60, of Altamont, was one of the first to receive the coffee, which runs $8.99 in stores. Putnam, a crew supervisor for the state Department of Transportation, drinks tea.
“This is probably going to go to the guys I work with,” he said of the gift.