The American Red Cross North Texas Region is hosting several blood drives in the area amidst a national blood shortage.

What you need to know

The number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has dropped 40% in the last 20 years, according to a news release. The nonprofit experienced a 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations between Christmas and New Year's Day alone. Even small disruptions in blood supply can have an impact on availability of certain blood products.

The Red Cross has had to limit distribution of Type O blood products in recent weeks because of the shortage.

“Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director at the Red Cross, in a statement. “More challenges may lie ahead as the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation. Donors of all types—especially those with Type O blood and those giving platelets—are urged to give now.”

Get involved

Appointments can be made at or by calling 1-800-733-2767. The Red Cross is partnering with the National Football League during January, which is National Blood Donor Month, to urge people to give blood.

Those who donate blood, platelets or plasma in January will be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The Red Cross North Texas Region is also hosting several blood drives across the region, including two in Flower Mound and McKinney. The full list of January blood drives can be found online.