AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been a year since The American Red Cross declared the first-ever blood crisis.

The blood shortage has been the worst in more than decade, according to officials, and it’s being felt in Central Texas.

“There is absolutely an urgent need for blood donations. As we enter 2023 our entire community has been experiencing a drastic increase in the amount of blood transfusions needed for local patients,” said Nick Canedo, the vice president of community engagement for We Are Blood.

The nonprofit blood center serves Central Texas and over 40 hospitals and medical facilities in our 10-county area.

The Red Cross has said the blood crisis has forced some doctors to decide who gets a blood transfusion in hospitals and who needs to wait until supply increases.

“I think our hospitals are doing an excellent job working with We Our Blood, and our blood donors to maintain the community blood supply for patients,” said Canedo. “But starting off 2023, we’re seeing a drastic dip in donations.”

Canedo explained the need is urgent with a growing city. “Over 30% increase over the last five years in red cells needed for patients, and over 40% more platelets needed over the last five years for patients,” he explained.

January kicks off National Blood Donor Month and We Are Blood is hopeful people will donate to save a life.

If that’s not enough incentive, Canedo said there are other reasons.

“Donate by Jan. 15 and you can enter to win a seat for you and a plus one at a private Franklin Barbecue dinner. This is a private dinner, no lines and dinner on us,” said Canedo.

Platelet donors can also enter for a chance to win a $25 HEB gift card.

You can donate blood at any of We Are Blood’s locations.