The American Red Cross encourages individuals and organizations to give something that means something this winter by making a lifesaving blood donation or hosting a blood drive.

Blood donations often decline from now to New Year's Day when holiday festivities pull people away from their donation appointments. Seasonal illnesses, such as colds and the flu, can also have a serious impact on blood donations.

In addition, there are fewer blood drives during the winter months when many hosting organizations postpone drives while people are traveling for the holidays. Severe winter weather may also cause scheduled blood drives to be canceled.

Despite the busy holiday season and threat of extreme freezing weather, the need for blood remains steady. Organizations can help by hosting a blood drive during the winter months, and eligible donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, B negative, A negative and AB blood.

Visit redcrossblood.org to learn more about hosting a blood drive.

To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can now use the Blood Donor App to access their donor card and view vital signs from previous donations.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Coshocton County

Nov. 28 from 2 to 6 p.m., Coshocton Baptist Church, 1631 Denman Ave., Coshocton.

Dec. 15 from noon to 6 p.m., Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 Pleasant Valley Drive, Coshocton.

Dec. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 Pleasant Valley Drive, Coshocton.

Dec. 15 from 2 to 7 p.m., New Bedford Community, 33350 SR 643, Fresno.

Guernsey County

Dec. 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center, 1341 N. Clark St., Cambridge.

Dec. 8 from 1 to 6 p.m., Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center, 1341 N. Clark St., Cambridge.

Tuscarawas County

Nov. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m., St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 121 S. College St., Newcomerstown.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.