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      Blood banks see drop in donations around holidays

      More drivers on the road and unfavorable driving conditions can be a recipe for disaster.

      Texas Department of Public Safety has already responded to several accidents by Thursday morning. Fortunately, a rollover involving an ambulance ended with minor injuries, but others may not be so lucky.

      The spike in emergencies is why giving blood is so important this time of year.

      Crystal Olvera with United Blood Services told Action 4 News while there is a large need for donors during the holidays, it's also the slowest time of the year for this blood bank.

      "United Blood Services is the only blood bank in the valley, we service all 18 hospitals from Brownsville to Rio Grande City," said Olvera.

      She said that means blood donated will stay local and go back to the valley community. Winter Texan, Jerry Crowell, gives blood every eight weeks.

      "Well, it TMs a good feeling and doesn TMt seem to hurt anything body wise," Crowell said.

      It is the season of giving and giving blood, Crystal said.

      She adds that it can be the greatest gift of all because every pint of blood saves three lives.

      Starbucks' "Be A Hero Blood Drive" will be held this week. All donors who donate will receive a free Starbucks Gift Card worth $10.

      Dec. 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Starbucks on Ed Carey Drive in Harlingen Starbucks on Tyler in Harlingen

      Dec. 27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Starbucks off Jackson Avenue in McAllen

      During the end of Year Mall Bash on Saturday, Dec. 28, all donors who donate will receive a free "Hero" bracelet.

      The drive will be at La Plaza Mall in McAllen and Valle Vista Mall in Harlingen.

      RGV Vipers Blood Drive will be held on Saturday, Dec. 28, and all donors who donate at the McAllen center will receive a free ticket to a Vipers game along with a free Vipers T-shirt.

      The drive will be held at Lone Star National Bank, 2109 S. 10th Street, McAllen.

      Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

      Additional height and weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.