The American Red Cross encourages people to help meet the urgent need for blood by resolving to give blood this January, which is national blood donor month.

The critical role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years during national blood donor month, which coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients.

Extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses often impact donor turnout this time of year.

The Red Cross encourages donors to resolve to give blood regularly, beginning in January.

What follows is a schedule of upcoming area blood drives:

• In Redwood Falls – Jan. 14 and 15 from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at the Redwood Area Community Center. 

• In Vesta – Jan. 14 from 1-7 p.m. at the community hall

• In Wabasso – Jan. 16 from 1-7 p.m. at the community center

• In Franklin – Jan. 21 from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at the community center

Another way to help keep the blood supply strong in the new year is to host a Red Cross blood drive. To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up visit the Red Cross Web site.

The public is encouraged to make an appointment to donate blood at an upcoming drive by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).