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It's the time of year when most people are out vacationing with family and friends, but what most people don't realize is how their time off affects the American Red Cross and its blood supply.

Red Cross officials said vacation plans might interrupt regular blood donations, and blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs across the country.

“Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which is why we are making this emergency request for donations,” Nick Gehrig, communications director for the Red Cross Blood Services, said in a news release. “Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks.

"If you’ve thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it. It’s the blood donations on the shelves that help save lives when an emergency occurs.”

There's always a need for Type O blood, according to the Red Cross. Type O is known as the universal donor and can be given to all blood types. However, all blood types are needed because sometimes people have a negative reaction to blood that isn't closely matched to theirs.

York County businesses and organizations are hosting multiple blood drives throughout the area this month:

Dover

July 19: 2-7:30 p.m., Dover Community Center, 3700 Davidsburg Road

Hanover

Saturday, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; July 13, 1 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.; July 16, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; and July 23, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., all at the Greater Hanover Donation Site, 529 Carlisle St.

Red Lion

July 5: 1-6:30 p.m., Parish Building, 3050 Cape Horn Road

July 23: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Rita's Italian Ice, 617 Lombard Road

Shrewsbury

Wednesday: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., YMCA, 100 Constitution Ave.

Thursday: 2:30-8 p.m., Sweet Frog Shrewsbury, 14605 Mount Airy Road, Suite C

July 20: 2-7:30 p.m., Shrewsbury Lutheran Retirement Village, 800 Bollinger Drive

York area

Friday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Isaac's Deli, 2159 White St.

Sunday: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., American Red Cross York Office, 724 S. George St.

July 14: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., York County Nursing Home, 118 Pleasant Acres Road

July 18: 2-7 p.m., Shiloh Fire Co., 2190 Carlisle Road

July 20: 2-7 p.m., Zion Lutheran Church, 2215 Brandywine Drive

July 23: 7:30 a.m.-noon, American Red Cross York Office, 724 S. George St.

July 25: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Memorial Hospital, 325 Belmont St.

July 25: 1-6:30 p.m., American Red Cross York Office, 724 S. George St.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDKatherine.

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