It's the time of year to give and the American Red Cross is encouraging you to give something that means something.
Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster and supplies blood to trauma patients. Donated platelets are given to those battling chronic illnesses. Forty percent of the blood donated across the nation comes from the Red Cross, and over 40,000 blood donations are needed every day across the country just to meet the demand in hospitals.
However, the number of donations usually decline this time of year. Jasmine Jones, Team Supervisor at the Red Cross donation center says that's because people are just too busy.
"During our winter months we have low donations due to the holidays and of course, you know, people are busy shopping or visiting and going outside of the U.S. to visit family. Our donations decline because there's no one to donate," she says.
Symbolic gifts can also be purchased online at www.redcross.org/gifts. These gifts include infant care kits for babies in emergency shelters, comfort kits for wounded warriors, or water containers to be sent to areas struck by natural disasters.
If you want to donate but aren't sure if you can, here's the breakdown so you can help save a life this season:
*You have to be at least 17 years old in most states or 16 years old with a parents consent to donate. You must weigh at least 110 pounds. If you are diabetic, you must have treatment and your condition has to be under control. Women taking contraceptives are still able to donate.
Jones says if you just got a tattoo or have a cold you may need to wait a little while before donating.
"You can't donate if you've gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months. With being ill, we encourage you that if you are ill to take care of yourself first, because we don't want to pull blood from that particular donor to give to a recipient who's already immunocompromised," she says.
The Red Cross has all of this information broken down by topic: medications, medical conditions, health and weight, even how long you have to wait before you can donate again. Here's a link to that information redcrossblood.org. The campaign runs until January 6th.