10/09/2014 05:47 EDT | Updated 10/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Canada's Blood Supply Could Still Use Everyone's Help

monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images

Canadians have come out in droves since people were made aware last week that the country's blood supply is desperately low.

Since launching its appeal, the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has seen a massive increase, according to a spokesperson from the agency.

"In the past week donations have increased by 20 per cent," the organization told The Huffington Post Canada in an email. "While we have made progress, the inventory is still not where it needs to be."

The national blood supply had hit its lowest levels since 2008, when the all-call to donate went out, with levels dipping toward a three-day supply, according to The agency usually favours a five-to-eight day supply.

CBS said in a press release it has reduced the need by one-third, but it is encouraging people to book appointments, rather than rely on walk-in availability, in order to make sure they can give.

And, that they qualify to give. There are no plans for CBS to revise the policy that prevents men who have sex with men from giving blood, which many have suggested could help alleviate the problem. Currently, the rules state a man must not have engaged in intercourse with a man for five years before he gives blood.

"We understand not being able to donate blood, for any reason, may be upsetting," the CBS spokesperson wrote. "The MSM policy is rooted in current statistics and scientific evidence and is not based on sexual orientation."

The spokesperson noted many people cannot donate blood, for reasons such as health issues, medication and high-risk behaviours.

For those who can and want to donate this Thanksgiving weekend or otherwise, you can find a clinic near you at the bottom of this page.

Photo gallery Countries' Policies On Gay Male Blood Donations See Gallery