THE South African National Blood Service (SANBS) encourages the community to donate blood this festive season. Tongaat residents can donate blood at the Tongaat Christmas Festival hosted by NCF North at the Outspan Grounds in Gandhi’s Hill on Saturday, December 8 from 10 am to 4 pm. Regional marketing manager Sifiso Khoza said: “Traditionally December is a difficult time for the SANBS as we are unable to collect the 3 000 units of blood a day that is needed to treat patients like those who are terminally ill, let alone any trauma incidents. If previous year’s blood stock levels over the same period is anything to go by, we know that we have some tough times ahead.”The SANBS appealed to the public for help as the busy holiday season started.Khoza said: “We are facing a particularly challenging situation and need blood and platelet donors to replenish the blood supply for hospital patients counting on us.” He said every day the SANBS depends on the generosity of volunteers to roll up a sleeve to help ensure lifesaving blood products are available for those in need.Khoza added: “We want to encourage the public to find 30 minutes this holiday period to donate blood, because whilst you are relaxing and enjoying the break, your blood will be out there saving up to three lives.” The KZN region has planned various special blood drive promotions over the festive season and into January 2018 with extended hours and additional weekend blood drives. The idea is to remain on people’s minds and to be accessible, convenient, and visible.To find the nearest donor centre call 0800 11 9031, visit www.sanbs.org.za or head over to Facebook.com/SANBS or Twitter @theSANBS. Alternatively, send your postal code to 31454.— Supplied.