New Jersey continually lags behind other states when it comes to the percentage of the population routinely donating blood.

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In the U.S. on average, about five percent of the population donates blood.

According to Dino DiStefano Director of Donor Recruitment for the Community Blood Bank of New Jersey, it's about three-and-a-half percent here. He says historically, New Jersey has imported blood from other states to fill the donation gap.

But these days, DiStefano says, "Their utilization typically is going up too. So we are searching all over. And ever since hurricane Sandy came into our area, the numbers have dropped off dramatically."

In 2011, New Jersey hospitals imported more pints of blood than any other state.

January is National Blood Donation Month, which is one of three months in the years when donations typically wane. The other two months are July and August when lagging donations are pinned on the fact many people go away on vacation.

DiStefano says since many blood donations come in from colleges in the state, donations are behind this month because of the holiday break at schools.

For information on donating blood, call the Community Blood Council of New Jersey at (609) 883 9750.