SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The American Red Cross is teaming up with NewsChannel 9 to hold its annual Holiday Heroes Blood Drive at Destiny USA.

The blood drive kicked off on Tuesday, December 27, and runs through December 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The American Red Cross says Tuesday’s turnout was successful, with both men and women stopping by to donate.

One donor, Jennifer Williams of Syracuse says she has been donating blood since she was 18.

“I’ve given probably about six times over my lifetime,” says Williams.

Another donor, Kathy Joyce has been donating blood for 55 years.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s a really wonderful feeling,” says Joyce.

Joyce added, “At one time I used to give platelets because I have good veins. So I gave platelets for five years.”

Joyce’s daughter, Kathleen Joyce is also a donor. She stopped by Destiny USA with her mother on Tuesday to donate.

“I started donating during covid so before that, I was always very afraid and I was very reluctant,” says Kathleen Joyce.

Kathleen says she soon realized just how urgent the need was, making the decision to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

“I just decided to sort of put my fear aside and for maybe the past three years now I’ve also been a consisting donor and it’s hard not to be because there is such an urgent need,” says Kathleen.

The urgent need is the same reason Williams says she became a donor.

“They contact me, they reach out over email, over phone calls just letting us know what the need is. So that’s why I came,” says Williams.

Katie Hout, account manager for the American Red Cross in Syracuse says there is always a need for blood, but even more so now.

“Every three seconds somebody somewhere needs blood. At the moment right now due to weather and seasonal sickness we’ve actually lost over 300 blood drives nationwide,” says Hout.

Hout added, “Blood can’t be manufactured. It’s not something that can be made or reproduced. It’s the gift that keeps on giving if you will.”

The American Red Cross encourages the public to donate. The Holiday Heroes Blood Drive is being held on the second level of Destiny USA near Johnny Rockets. Appointments are encouraged.