CHICAGO (CBS) — Several Chicago aldermen who represent large Latino populations urged residents of their wards to donate blood in greater numbers.

Latinos make up 17 percent of the general population, and nearly 30 percent of the Chicago population, yet only 4 percent of those who give blood.

Ald. Milly Santiago (31st) said it should be a moral obligation to donate blood. She said there’s a lot of misinformation in the Latino community about what blood donations are all about.

“We have to step up to the plate and become donors, because this is a safe procedure, and we can save three lives with only one pint of blood,” she said.

Margaret Vaughn, executive director of the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers, said another reason it’s so important Latinos donate blood is 60% of Latinos have Type O blood, which makes them universal donors – meaning people of every blood type can be given Type O blood, even those with Type AB.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said he’s been donating blood since he was in college.

“I’m proud to say that, thanks to the National Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Scholarship Challenge, any student organization that hosts a blood drive on their campus is eligible for a $1,000 scholarship,” he said.

There was also a call for more Latinos to sign up for the bone marrow donor registry.