Blood donations usually run short during and immediately after the holidays, and the problem is especially acute this year.

“We always know going into January it’s going to be tough,” said Patsy Shipley, senior director of recruitment and collections at the Community Blood Center. The CBC, which supplies blood to dozens of area hospitals, has a facility at 1124 West U.S. 40 in Blue Springs in addition to others in the metro area.

Recent weeks have been challenging. Donations fall when school is out for the holidays, and the extreme cold and widespread outbreak of the flu have both kept even more people at home.

“So it’s kind of a perfect storm of huge need and lower donations,” said Ben McFerron, manager of the Blue Springs site.

Still, demand is steady.

“And people won’t stop having accidents or getting sick,” Shipley said. “The need for blood doesn’t go away.”

Most in need are the B-negative and O-negative types. Also, donations of platelets – crucial for chemotherapy but with just a five-day shelf life – are shipped out as quickly as they are given and the lab says they’re good to go.

Shipley tells people that a donation of blood – whole blood, red blood cells or platelets – is a “bag of hope.”

The Blue Springs facility is open seven days a week: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Go to savealife.org, or call 877-468-6844 to make an appointment in Blue Springs or elsewhere.

“Give the gift of life,” Shipley said.