NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Historically, blood donations to the American Red Cross decline as it gets closer to the holidays, but this year the organization is facing an extreme shortage that has them putting out an “emergency” call.

Red Cross officials say there were more than 20,000 fewer blood donations during September and October, that coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence and fewer blood drives being held led to the shortage.

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Red Cross employee Bob Otwell prepares blood products for distribution to hospitals in Texas. (credit: Daniel Cima/American Red Cross)

“This time of year, as many give thanks for family, friends and good health, it’s important to remember that patients across the country cannot survive without your generosity,” said Cliff Numark with the Red Cross.

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Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate online or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

To encourage donations around the Thanksgiving holiday, anyone donating blood to the Red Cross, from November 21-24, will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross t-shirt, while supplies last.

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There are dozens of blood drives happening across North Texas between now and December 15. Click here to go the American Red Cross website to enter your zip code and find a location near you.