The holiday season forces organizations to cancel blood drives that help stock shelves at United Blood Services in Meridian and save lives. As a result, hospital are running low on even the most common types of blood.
"The biggest thing is a lot of people choose to have their elective surgeries during the holiday time frame. Plus a lot of people are traveling and that does impact our donor base coming in," said Katie Swinney of United Blood Services.
Officials say they've been getting a steady flow of donors on the weekends, but expect many are working long hours for extra holiday cash and are unable to make time during the donation center's hours.
"We don't know if it is the economy affecting us, people working longer hours," Swinney said. "And some of our sponsors and organizations, we've lost a couple of groups that were holding blood drives due to the busy season. So we're asking if any businesses could donate some time to do a blood drive at their location or allow their employees to come in to our center and donate, we would sure appreciate that."
To encourage donors to come out this holiday season, United Blood Services has thrown in a few extra incentives.
"We have a Saints inspired t-shirt. We are also entering all of our donors into a monthly drawing for United Blood Services to pay up to $250 towards a utility bill," said Swinney. "We have points online that you can enter to redeem for movie tickets."
If you'd like to donate, you may call UBS at 601-482-2482 to make an appointment or visit the UBS website. A link is provided below.