Local businesses or organizations may participate as a blood donor sponsor at weekly blood drives at the American Red Cross Santa Monica chapter, 1450 11th St., Santa Monica.

The blood donor sponsorship program was created to not only help increase donations but to recognize local businesses that are providing leadership by their participation, Red Cross representatives said.

Sponsors also help promote donations from their employees and customer base.

The Red Cross, in return, promotes the sponsor’s support through media releases, Web site mention and signage during the weekly blood drives.

Business donors currently include Santa Monica Bay Physicians; Robert Amonic, M.D.; Broadcore; First Federal Bank and Raytheon.

“As members of the healthcare community, Santa Monica Bay Physicians is pleased to support the excellent work of the Santa Monica Red Cross,” said Richard Greenspun, M.D. of Santa Monica Bay Physicians. “With blood supplies chronically low and the demand increasing, we applaud the efforts of the Red Cross in this important effort.”

Businesses or organizations that would like to participate as a blood donor sponsor can call the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter at (310) 394-3773.

Persons in good health over the age of 17 (age 16 if accompanied by a parent) and who weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood. Participants are asked to bring a photo identification. The American Red Cross asks potential donors to drink plenty of water and eat normally before giving blood.

Times for blood collections vary from day to day and week to week. Those wishing to donate blood should make an appointment to do so. Local residents can call the American Red Cross at (800) GIVE-LIFE (800) 448-3543, or www.givelife.org/.

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica is a nonprofit corporation that provides health and safety education, youth services, blood services, CPR and first aid training, disaster awareness and disaster relief efforts.