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ATLANTA -- For the first time, the American Red Cross is using a tracking system to let some donors know where their blood is sent after they give.

The nonprofit recently began sending out letters and e-mails that include the hospital name and location.

"We just want people to see that their blood donation really does make a difference and makes an impact on someone's life," said Kristen Stancil, spokeswoman for theAmerican Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region.

The Red Cross is sending these new details to donors with blood types in high demand, including A-negative, B-negative, O-positive and O-negative.

These blood types are usually the first to run out during a shortage.

"This is a small way to say 'thank you. We appreciate you. We appreciate your time,'" Stancil said. "Our patients are also appreciative because you can help save someone's life with a blood donation."

The e-mails and letters encourages donors to use Facebook and Twitter to share news of their gift and encourage others to donate.

The Red Cross doesn't share specific information about the recipient because of confidentiality requirements.

To find a blood drive near you, go to www.redcrossblood.org and type in your zip code.

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