Winter illnesses on the heels of the holiday season are taking a toll on the local pool of regular blood donors, leaving Houchin Community Blood Bank in urgent need of A-negative and O-positive blood.

The blood bank needs all types of blood but the bank has less than a two-day supply of A-negative and O-positive, according to a Houchin news release. The blood bank aims to have a 14-day supply of all types of blood on hand, said Carola Enriquez, Houchin's director of community development.

"A 14-day (supply helps) us be prepared for an emergency," such as a car wreck or a shooting, Enriquez said.

But this time of year, blood banks have to tap into their supplies because donors can't come in over the holidays. That slump, coupled with wintertime maladies that keep regulars from donating, makes it "really hard" to get back up to that 14-day supply mark, Enriquez said.

Houchin encourages people to donate even if they don't know their blood type. The blood bank lets new donors know their blood type with a donor card via mail, Enriquez said.

People can donate blood at 5901 Truxtun Ave. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Donors can walk in and give, or make an appointment by calling 616-2505 or visiting