Colorado Residents to Help Katrina Victims

DENVER (AP) - Colorado residents are already responding to various requests for assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Now, they're being urged to give the gift of life.

At least 17 centers in the New Orleans area are currently unable to collect blood because of storm damage, leaving the region short by 350 pints a day. That blood is needed at 45 hospitals for transfusions, surgeries and other procedures.

Bonfils Blood Center spokeswoman Jessica Maitland says the number of donations typically drops off during the summer and holidays anyway, so Katrina couldn't have hit at a worse time. Maitland says the entire process of donating blood takes less than an hour, and will definitely help save lives. --- Bonfils operates seven community donor centers in the Denver area, and one each in Sterling and Pueblo.