WILKES-BARRE -- Instead of chocolate hearts and cards, tables were laid out, and people patiently waited as blood was drawn.
Inside the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, people decided to spend part of their Valentine's Day benefiting strangers.
“The Red Cross is always short on blood donations, and Valentine's Day is just a special day to do it because you can't buy that in the store,” said Mariah Bellanco.
Red Cross officials tell Newswatch 16 they really need every drop of blood.
During the winter months, there has always been a decrease in donations. This year's flu is making matters worse.
Officials say when it comes to donations across the U.S., the Red Cross is in critical status, one step below their emergency level.
“We are down about 1,600 units than what we would have collected at this point, which is a lot considering we have to collect 800 units every day in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so that's a lot of blood that we need to make up,” said Alana Mauger, American Red Cross Communication Manager of Blood Services
Some who donate regularly were happy to do it on a day meant to share love.
“I think it's important to provide that service to others in need, and it's a good combination as you said between Lent and Valentine's Day,” Theresa Kline.
For more ways on how you can donate you can visit https://www.redcross.org/give-blood because as the Red Cross says every donation matters.