I am getting ready to go to Africa, so it dawned on me one morning that I would not be able to give blood until several years after my return. I am a blood donor in the U.S. Senate's program.

On the morning of July 31, I called the Montgomery County Red Cross and after one transfer got the blood donor program. I explained that I was leaving the country and wanted to give blood. The person on the other end was sorry, but could not tell me where the bloodmobile was that day. She inquired, but was informed that the new schedule would be out Aug. 1, and there was no July schedule on hand.

I explained that I was to start my anti-malaria program the next day and could not wait. They were sorry, but could not tell me where to go.

I called Sibley Hospital's blood lab and was promptly told, in not too uncertain terms, that to give blood I had to have an appointment. It was 9:30 a.m. at the time and the only two available times were 10 and 10:15 a.m. I could not make either.

I have type O, RH negative blood, which is usually in great demand and in short supply. In the future when local blood users put out the cry for blood donors, I am going to question their pleas. I am sorry I was unable to make this small contribution. RALPH E. GRIFFITH Bethesda