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Donate blood Friday at The Daily Leader

Photo submitted/A Mississippi Blood Services employee checks on a donor at a recent blood drive.

Photo submitted/A Mississippi Blood Services employee checks on a donor at a recent blood drive.

One of the best gifts you can give a stranger this season is life.

And all it takes is a few minutes of your time and a pint of blood.

The Daily Leader is one of several locations in Lincoln County where Mississippi Blood Services will be collecting that gift during its 12 Days of Christmas campaign.

The MBS Blood Donor Coach will be parked in front of The Daily Leader newspaper office at 128 N. Railroad St. from 1:30-5 p.m. Friday.

Donors can drop by the office during business hours or call 601-265-5296 to sign up for a specific time.

“While all blood types are needed, Mississippi Blood Services is in critical need of 0-Negative, O-Positive and B-Negative blood and platelets,” said Daily Leader publisher Luke Horton. “We encourage you to come to our offices Friday and make a difference in someone’s life. Each whole blood donation can be used to save up to three lives.”

“Blood is one thing that can’t be manufactured, so we rely on donations of our voluntary blood donors to keep our supply up,” Emily Austin of MBS said recently.

High schools play a big role in blood donations throughout the year, but when school is out for the holidays, their collections are lower. However, that’s when the demand is sometimes higher.

“Inclement weather contributes to accidents. There’s a lot of factors that can go into that and it’s a whole supply and demand thing. During the holiday the supply goes down, but the demand stays the same or increases,” Austin said.

Mississippi Blood Services provides 40 hospitals in the state with blood. That’s 90,000 units a year and roughly 250 units a day.

“Forty percent of the population, although they are eligible to donate, only four percent do,” she said.

Austin encourages potential donors to pick one of the days listed and give blood. “It’s one of the easiest ways that you can give back. Everybody has an hour that they can carve our of their day to come in and save three lives,” she said.

Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with signed parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and have a valid ID. For more information, visit msblood.com, or call 888-90-BLOOD (902-5663).

Besides The Daily Leader Friday, MBS will be at the following locations:

• Dec. 12 — King’s Daughters Medical Center from 1-6 p.m.

• Dec. 13 — USDA in Brookhaven from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Dec. 15 — Brookhaven High School from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Dec. 16 — Lincoln County Government Complex from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Dec. 17 — Brookhaven Plaza from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Dec. 21 — Hwy. 51 Diner in Wesson from noon-6 p.m.

• Dec. 22 — Walmart in Brookhaven from noon-6 p.m.

• Dec. 27 — KDMC from 1-6 p.m.