JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Blood Alliance is in need of blood donations.

The alliance says it's important to head into the holiday weekend with a big supply to ensure local hospitals have blood available to treat patients in need at a time when most people are busy with holiday activities and not thinking about donating blood.

Ted Richardson was at the Blood Alliance on Friday donating blood for a purpose, and he wants others to give, too.

"I wish they could come in every day (to donate)," Richardson said. "Because my wife has cancer."

Richardson's wife has fought cervical cancer once, but now it's back.

"I just wish I could give blood every day, but I can't," Richardson said.

That's why he wants others to become donors.

"There's so many people that could give blood, but maybe they are a little bit afraid," Richardson said. "But there's nothing to it. It doesn't really hurt."

Just one pint of blood and you can save three lives. Many donors say it's a very rewarding feeling.

"I feel great. It's enough to make me cry," Richardson said.

Out of the 60 percent of healthy Americans who can donate blood, only 5 percent do.

Jesse Atwaters, who also donates regularly, says it's a preventive measure.

"Every day someone needs blood," Atwaters said. "Don't get to the point when it's affecting you to all of the sudden want to donate blood. Always do it beforehand."

The Blood Alliance says summer is its slow season for donations, but the need is most critical.

"Folks are off their regular routine and more accidents tend to happen, and that means they need more blood," said Odette Struys, of the Blood Alliance. "So while the supply is down, the demand goes up."

The Blood Alliance, northeast Florida's sole provider of blood to area hospitals, will host United We Care blood drives on Saturday to help build the community's blood supply before the Fourth of July holiday.

All registered donors will be entered into a drawing for two July 6 Coke Zero 400 race tickets in Daytona Beach.

One blood drive will be in St. Augustine at Publix at Cobblestone Shopping Center. The other will be at the Orange Park Mall off Wells Rd. Both are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"We need all types of blood," Struys said. "And right now we are critically low in A positive blood type, but we're also low in all the negative blood types across the board. So basically we need everyone to try and come in."

Walk-ins are welcome, but if you want to make an appointment to donate, go to www.igiveblood.com, use the free app "iDon8" or call The Blood Alliance at 888-99-TBA HERO (888-998-2243).