The American Red Cross is offering a special incentive to increase blood and platelet donations in January, a historically challenging time. All donors who present at Red Cross blood drives in Connecticut will receive a $5 Dunkin’ Gift Card by email.

“January is a time we tend to see a dip in the blood supply,” said Patricia Sablitz, director of donor recruitment, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Donors may not have had time to come in during the holidays, and the threat of severe weather is always looming here in the northeast. This incentive is one way to remind donors the need for blood doesn’t take a winter break.”

In order to receive the gift card, all donors must have a valid email on file with the Red Cross at the time of donation. In addition to the emailed gift card, donors who give blood or platelets from Jan. 1 to 6 will receive a free long-sleeved T-shirt.

To donate, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass ® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.