The Red Cross has called the situation "tenuous" and issued an emergency appeal for donors. The shortage of blood has already forced the cancellation of elective surgeries in some cities.
At least 2,000 pints of blood must be collected to meet the needs of hospitals in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey for accident and burn victims, surgical and cancer patients, children with blood disorders, and others.
Nationally, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two seconds.
So far, doctors in the region have not been forced to postpone elective surgeries, according to Anthony C. Tornetta, a spokesman for the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey.
With help from the public, that can be prevented. A donated pint of blood lands on a hospital shelf within a week's time.
In order to boost the supply, the local Red Cross is teaming up with the city's sports teams. The Eagles will host a special blood drive at Lehigh University on Aug. 13, and donors can win a pair of tickets to the Eagles' home opener. The Phillies will also host a drive on Aug. 18 at Citizens Bank Park.
All blood types are currently needed, but particularly O negative, which can be transfused to anyone when there is no time to match a patient's blood type. Most people who are 17 (16 with parental permission), at least 110 pounds, and in generally good health may be eligible to donate.
For information, to make an appointment to donate blood, or to schedule a blood drive, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the redcrossblood.org website.