El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — January is National Blood Donor Awareness Month.

That means it’s time to spread awareness but it’s also a time to recognize the importance of giving blood while celebrating the lifesaving impact of those who help patients in need.

A blood transfusion occurs very two seconds in America and a single donation can save multiple lives. This year, January marks the 53rd anniversary of National Blood Donor Month and it honors those who have selflessly donated blood and platelets for patients in need of a transfusion.

However, with winter still here, there’s been a severe shortage with the blood supply and the need for blood continues.

“Since the pandemic, so much has changed in people’s lives. So where we could usually go out to businesses a lot, and you know, we set up in different business locations and malls and places of that nature to get blood,” said Carla Alexander, the communications manager for Vitalant in El Paso.

“A lot of places no longer allow that, so that has cut into our blood supply a great deal,” she added.

She also explained that due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s created other challenges. Many individuals are still working from home and with winter illnesses still going around, there’s been a 50 percent shortfall in the past year.

“We are always encouraging our ‘O’ donors to please come in and donate, because that it is by far the most used. Simply because of the fact that it can be used in any other blood type. There’s of course, different uses for other blood. ‘A’ blood is good for plasma, which is used a lot for burn victims and premature babies,” Alexander said.

If you are interested in donating you can walk into your local blood bank or you can register online right here.