Members of the Harvard community filled the basement of Northwest Labs Monday, waiting over an hour each to donate blood as part of Harvard’s Hurricane Sandy Red Cross Blood Drive.
Harvard Red Cross, the student group that organized the event, hosts four blood drives every year, including one in December.
Because Hurricane Sandy destroyed a great deal of saved blood reserves, the group decided to roll this December’s drive into its larger efforts for hurricane relief, according to Harvard College Red Cross board member Riley J. Brian ’15.
For a month, the group has been raising money through an online fundraising page for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey. As of press time, the group had raised close to half of its $10,000 fundraising goal.
Brian said the number of people who turned out to donate on Monday was significantly greater than the turnout for blood drives hosted by Harvard in the past.
While a Harvard Red Cross blood drive generally brings in about 170 to 175 pints of blood, “this blood drive is looking like a lot more than that,” said Brian.
Rebecca L. Ritchie ’16, among those crowding the basement of Northwest Labs, was studying for her Government 20: “Foundations of Comparative Politics” final while waiting her turn to donate blood.
Although surprised by the length of the queue, Ritchie said she did not mind the wait because it demonstrated the campus’s enthusiasm for the cause.
“It means there are so many people who want to donate,” she said.
The cause attracted not only students, but also staff from across the University and local Cambridge residents.
Stephen S. Leroy, a scientist at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has given over four gallons of blood in his lifetime.
He had to take a 10-year hiatus from donating after spending a year in Denmark.
His donation at the Harvard drive marks the second time Leroy has given blood since the Red Cross relaxed the restrictions to its donation policies.
“It’s a good habit to have,” Leroy said about donating blood.
The Hurricane Sandy Blood Drive is a three-day event and will continue Tuesday in Northwest Labs and Wednesday in Harvard Hillel.
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