Following several rounds of severe winter weather in many parts of the country, the American Red Cross urges eligible blood and platelet donors to help restock its shelves to overcome a shortage.

Since Dec. 1, about 300 blood drives across 27 states have been forced to cancel due to inclement winter weather, resulting in more than 10,500 blood and platelet donations going uncollected.

Blood donor Jim Taylor knows how it feels to have a loved one waiting for a transfusion. His son Aaron was born with a rare liver condition. In the short two months of his life, he received 115 blood products. Taylor said each transfusion gave his family more time with Aaron, so he encourages others to give.

"When the Red Cross says there is a shortage, they are not exaggerating," said Taylor. "I now know from experience that what they are saying is somewhere there is a father waiting for the donation that will save his son's life. When the Red Cross asks for help, what that means is a new dad is praying for a miracle."

From now through Feb. 28, those who come to give blood or platelets in the Central Ohio Region can enter to win $2,000 in Kroger gift cards, good for gas or groceries.

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to save time when donating.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Coshocton

Tuesday, Feb. 14: 12-6 p.m., Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 Pleasant Valley Dr.

Wednesday, Feb. 15: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 Pleasant Valley Dr.

Cambridge

Tuesday, Jan. 24: 1-6 p.m., Center United Methodist Church, 11026 State Route 22.

Wednesday, Feb. 8: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Zane State Cambridge, 9900 Brick Church Rd.

Newcomerstown

Friday, Feb. 10: 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Newcomerstown High School, 659 Beaver St.