By Nicole Viviano
In honor of National Blood Donor Month, Campus Town hosted a blood drive from Jan. 30 to Friday, Feb.1 in effort to combat the current blood bank deficit facing New Jersey.
Even though temperatures dropped to the lowest of the season throughout the three-day event, the heated interior of the red and white coach bus and the warm staff offered a pleasant experience for donors.
Organized by Miller-Keystone Blood Center of Trenton, New Jersey, the drive was able to successfully meet its quotas.
“We want to do what we can to support the blood donations and to support the community,” said Greg Lentine, director of campus development at Campus Town. “That’s a really big goal for us.”
Miller-Keystone is a community blood center which aims to supply local hospitals with the resources they need for surgeries and emergency procedures. Unlike national blood organizations, the donations that are given at Miller-Keystone help the local community.
Miller-Keystone Donor Resources Representative Daria Caldwell collaborated with Lentine to plan and secure the Campus Town vendors’ support. Meanwhile, Dave Conner, the director of Student Involvement, approved the event’s flyers and contacted student organizations on campus to alert the community of the event.
Lentine also reached out to New Jersey 101.5 in hopes that student groups, fraternities, sororities, students and community members alike would contribute to Miller-Keystone’s efforts.
“When you have these events, as much as you want all the College people to be involved, we also want the community to come out,” Lentine said. “That’s why we went out and bought advertising on the radio — to try and get the community to come on out here and help support this.”
The normal timing involved with planning a blood drive can be anywhere from three to six weeks, Caldwell explained. This event was put together in just one. A Miller-Keystone mobile donor coach bus allowed for the flexibility needed to piece the drive together in this short amount of time.
Phlebotomists Sandy Rodriguez, Angie Renee Bratcher, Tracy Moyer and staffed nurse Kevin Clark helped keep the environment welcoming for donors.
“For me, who’s been doing nonprofit philanthropy work for 35 years, it’s your chance to help somebody learn … the value of taking care of each other, and being kind to each other, and being cognizant that there is a world beyond yourself,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell’s goal is to create a comfortable, close-to-home environment for both donors and staff. Her passion for her work stems from her upbringing and her survival after four blood transfusions.
“I know that I’m here today because somebody stepped up and put their arm out,” she said.
Upon completion of a donation, donors were thanked for saving three lives and received contributed coupons and materials from supporting Campus Town vendors, including a Miller-Keystone T-shirt, a laundry bag, 10 percent off at Lion Dog, Piccolo Pronto, RedBerry and Frutta Bowls and a free dessert voucher from Landmark Americana.
This event was also formulated at a quicker pace due to the dire need for resources and Campus Town’s relationship with the blood center. Miller-Keystone will have a physical location that is expected to open up in Campus Town later this semester, according to Lentine.
“Once the center opens up people can go in there any time, but we will help support them because it’s something that is giving back to the community,” Lentine said. “We think that’s really important.”