WACO, Texas — Blood banks have entered their slowest time of the year for donations.
Many donors are college or high school students and when school is on break, there's not too many people left to donate.
"Bryan-College Station has about 100,000 people but Texas A&M has about 90,000 people," Stephen Walker, regional operation manager for Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, told 25 News.
"So when you take away a percent of the population when the schools closed, it definitely changes the population there. We want to make sure that during the holidays the residents here are able to get the care that they need."
Blood banks are concerned about the annual drop in donors because they were already facing a critical shortage.
"We haven't seen it this low in such a long time," Carter BloodCare Field Recruiter Mike Mccoy said. "The people just got to get out. People are coming, they just need to grab a friend."
Donations expire so the need for new blood coming in is constant.
"A whole blood is only good for 42 days," Walker said. "Platelets are only good for five days. A lot of people think when they donate oh I've donated for the year, but it actually has an expiration date on them."
Anyone eligible to donate is encouraged to do so. Donors have to be at least 16 and weigh 110 pounds.
"It's a great Christmas gift to someone you don't even know," Mccoy said. "They grab their family members, a friend, anybody and come to the donor center or go find a mobile drive."
To find blood drives in Bryan-College Station, you can visit Be a Hero | Donate Blood with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (giveblood.org).
To donate in the Waco area, you can visit Carter BloodCare – Become a Blood Donor & Give Life