The week between Christmas and New Year's is the toughest time for any blood bank.

While many Texomans are out shopping or getting ready to head out of town this Christmas, the need for blood donors is year round.

Jennifer Risinger with the Texas Blood Institute says there are fewer donors during the month of December because people are not in their regular routine.

She says they are either busy shopping, traveling or out of school.

"It's always important for people to donate blood because the need for blood never takes a vacation," Risinger says.

She adds, "People are still in the hospitals, people are still having accidents on Christmas Day but there's no people out there donating so you know, when the demand is up and the supply is down, that leaves us in a bind."

However, the organization believes it may have fixed that problem by going mobile.   

Texas Blood Institute has invested in a new bloodmobile that hopes to change that.

Daren Coats, executive director for the Texas Blood Institute, says it is the first bloodmobile the organization has ever invested in.

Coats says the vehicle will give them an opportunity to reach out to people in the community who have not had a chance to donate or couldn't go to their headquarters.

"Having a vehicle like this, to be able to go where a donor is, whether it be at the mall, or at a business, someplace where a donor has the convenience of being right there with them; it increases our donations this time of year.

Coats says the bloodmobile will be able see 10 to 12 donor an hour.

Also, it features wider aisles, interchangeable seats for left arm or right arm donors and allows for extra comfort during the donation process.

Coats says donations are expected to increase by 10% to 15% in the first year.

"This bus makes it easy for us to make sure that we're continuing our promise to meet the patients' need in those local hospitals," Coats says.

Risinger hopes this busy time of year will not keep people away from the spirit of giving.

"You can save three lives for absolutely free this holiday season and it's a priceless gift for the patients and for their loved ones," Risinger says.

Texas Blood Institute hopes to start using the bloodmobile as early as the end of the week.

There are 15 schedules blood drives through Jan. 1 across Texoma:

Monday, Dec. 17 at Texoma Community Credit Union from 9 a.m - 2 p.m. - 4019 Southwest Parkway

Friday, Dec. 21 at Wilbarger General Hospital from 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - 920 Hillcrest Drive in Vernon

Wednesday, Dec. 26 at WDS from 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 27 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - 2236 Airport Drive
Friday, Dec. 28 from 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. at Best Buy - 4100 Kemp Blvd

Saturday, Dec. 29 from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Wal-Mart - 3130 Lawrence Road

Wednesday, Jan. 2 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Wichita Home Health Chase Bank Parking Lot

Friday, Jan. 4 from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Wichita County Courthouse - 900 7th Street

Wednesday, Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at American Commercial College - 4317 Barnett Road

Thursday, Jan. 10 from 8:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. at Allred Thompson Mason Daugherty - 1300 10th Street

Thursday, Jan. 10 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. at Dental Planet - 707 North Scott

Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at KMOC 89.5 FM - 1040 West Wenonah

Thursday, Jan. 17 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Clinics of North Texas - 501 Midwestern Pkwy East, South Entrance

If you would like to schedule a blood drive with your business, school, church, civic group or community, please contact Jennifer Risinger at 447-4772.

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