NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- In the midst of the last-minute holiday rush, 13News Now and the American Red Cross are encouraging people to pause and potentially help save lives.

The Jingle Bell Blood Drive is taking place at locations across Hampton Roads. The drive has been an annual tradition for more than four decades.

By donating, people can help prevent seasonal shortfalls that busy holiday schedules, inclement weather, and illnesses such as the flu can cause.

“The American Red Cross is the primary blood supplier for all hospitals in the area,” said Bernadette Jay, External Communications Manager, Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region. “When you donate with the Red Cross, your donation could help someone locally in your community. We encourage 13News Now viewers to roll up their sleeves and donate.”

The Jingle Bell Blood Drive runs from December 19 through December 22 at these locations:

  • Chesapeake Square Mall, Chesapeake
  • Greenbrier Mall, Chesapeake
  • Patrick Henry Mall, Newport News
  • Pembroke Mall, Virginia Beach

People can donate between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.

Walk-ins are welcome, but the American Red Cross suggests donors make an appointment to donate blood online using sponsor code 13NEWSNOW, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.