Non-profits in crisis: From an emergency blood shortage to record demand at local shelters, how to help Madison’s most in need

MADISON, Wis.– As COVID-19 case numbers continue to set new records every day, non-profits are scrambling to find new ways to get the money and donations they need safely.

The Salvation Army of Dane County ended its 2021 Red Kettle Campaign $25,000 short of its $525,000 goal.

“There’s definitely a higher need for our shelters right now,” explained Taylor Pasell, the marketing manager for the Madison-based non-profit. “We’re trying to help as many people as we possibly can.”

The American Red Cross is also in crisis, declaring its first-ever national blood emergency.

RELATED: Red Cross hosting local blood drives amid critically low blood supply

“We haven’t seen this kind of shortage in ten years,” said Kyle Kriegl, Executive Director of Southwest Wisconsin’s Red Cross chapter. “We like to have between three and five days of blood on the shelf ready for emergencies.”

As of Wednesday, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply.

“I know folks have been hesitant to come in and donate. And that’s why we’re asking them to do exactly that. Come in and donate now,” said Kriegl.

For non-profits like the Salvation Army and Red Cross, not helping those in need is not an option. This time last year, the Salvation Army of Dane County separated its women and family shelters into two buildings for a simple reason: to serve more people.

“And we have definitely served more people,” Pasell noted.

An average of 70 women and 35 families stay at the Salvation Army’s shelter every night. Like many organizations, the Dane County non-profit needs help to continue serving them.

Pasell says a $5 donation covers three meals and a snack, while $20 pays for a one-night stay. And of course, giving blood is free.

“If you can’t do it this week or next week, this is going to continue for awhile,” said Kriegl, adding that all blood types are needed, but especially O, the universal blood type.

Click here for a list of upcoming blood donation clinics by zip code.

Click here to donate to the Salvation Army of Dane County.