The American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to make a donation appointment now and help save patient lives.

Hectic holiday schedules, snowstorms and severe weather contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December than what was needed. Nearly 100 blood drives were forced to cancel in December, resulting in more than 3,100 blood donations going uncollected.

“Blood and platelet donations are critically needed in the coming days so that patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they are counting on,” said James Love, executive director of the American Red Cross Rochester Chapter. “We encourage donors to invite a family member or friend to donate with them to help meet patient needs. Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.”

The Red Cross and Dunkin’ Donuts are partnering in January to help increase donations and reward generous donors. All those who give blood or platelets in January at Red Cross blood drives will receive a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts card.

For information, call 800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org.