Local residents and students alike can save a life during National Blood Donor Month, which officially began yesterday and continues on campus today in the San Miguel Residence Hall.

Drop-in blood donors will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the formal lounge in San Miguel. Interested parties can also visit the Santa Barbara Red Cross center, located downtown at 902 Laguna St., said organizer Courtney Moore, a first-year psychology major. Both drives are organized by the United Blood Services as part of its annual Valentine’s donation drive, which runs until Feb. 17.

All donated blood goes to local hospitals, said Mary Ann Bittle, a spokesman for United Blood Services. She said January is an important time for people to donate blood, since supplies usually run low after the holidays.

“We supply blood for 20 hospital in the Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura areas, and we are the only suppliers for those hospitals.” Bittle said. “We rely on volunteer blood donations to meet our needs.”

The next blood drive on campus will be held this Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot across from the Rec Cen. UCSB’s rowing team coach, Mike Homes, said he has organized the drive for the last five years.

“We’ve been doing this every year long before I got here,” Homes said.

Bittle said there will be more blood drives around Isla Vista in the coming weeks; Silvergreens is hosting a drive on Jan. 29 and Fontainebleu will host one on the Jan. 31.

Appointments to donate can be set up through www.bloodhero.com.

Donors are asked to fill out a form qualifying them to donate blood – they must be 17 or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds and cannot donate if they have given blood in the past eight weeks, or are sick. People at risk for AIDS, or that have used a needle for a non-prescription drug, including a piercing or tattoo, are not eligible donate.