The rush of the holidays is here, but blood centers remind donors that blood is a constant need.

The takeaway message is simple:

“Donate when you can,” said Joe Zydlo, spokesman for the American Red Cross.

Zydlo said the Red Cross sees donations drop at two different times, when school is out for the summer and during the holidays.

“It also has to do with winter weather. … Those are really the kind of critical times for us,” Zydlo said. Giving between now and mid-December can make a difference, he added.

The Red Cross has two upcoming donation events in Eastern Jackson County, both in Lee’s Summit. One is from 8 a.m. to noon, Dec. 10, at Abundant Life Church, 304 S.W. Persels Road. The other is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 12, at Heritage Biologics, 255 N.W. Victoria Drive.

Also, the Community Blood Center has permanent locations around the metro area, including one at 1124 Southwest U.S. 40 in Blue Springs. It’s open every day: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Call 1-877-468-6844 to make an appointment.

Zydlo said the Red Cross wants to re-establish a broader presence in Eastern Jackson County.

“We’re trying to grow that area,” he said.

Many donors give whole blood, but advances in such areas as cancer treatment have raised the demand for platelets. The process of donating platelets, called apheresis, can take about three hours, but donors are encouraged to consider giving that way if they can.

“Absolutely,” Zydlo said. “Cancer patients definitely need it.”