LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Just a few minutes of your time could help save a life and ease a critical blood shortage.

The American Red Cross is holding its bi-annual Holiday Hero Blood Drive this week. Millionaire's Row at Churchill Downs is set up for blood donations to boost the supply in summer months.

Donors get a free chicken dinner and ticket to Kings Island, while supplies last. American Red Cross Spokeswoman Tammy Ritchie said it's one way to say "thank you" to existing donors and encourage new ones to come give blood.

"Our goal over the three-day period is to collect right around 1,000 units, which means we need about 1,300 to 1,400 people to come out and donate," she said.

The critical blood shortage means there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types available. The Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors to replenish the supply. The call for donations comes after a difficult July 4 week for donations, when there is a drastic drop in the number of blood drives.

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

The Holiday Hero Blood Drive at Churchill Downs runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.