The New York Blood Center and once again joined forces to hold one of their life-saving community blood drives. However, this one came with a twist; in addition to raising the Blood Center's supply of the good red stuff, donors were also helping with the education of parishioner Joanna Suppa.
Suppa, 17, the chairperson behind this blood drive, was literally banking on the charitable nature of local residents to help her nab a $500 scholarship to college.
"I originally needed scholarship money to go to college," she said. "I didn't end up making enough, but now I'm going to Farmingdale State College, and just to help pay for books and stuff, I figured this was a good idea."
Of course, the monetary reward was secondary to helping those who need it most.
"People need blood transfusions and stuff," Suppa said. "People have all this blood, so why not give it to people who need it?"
Joan Liang of the New York Blood Center explained that her organization often gives back to the community by helping out students who, in turn, help them.
"This is a scholarship blood drive," she said. "Joanna puts the blood drive on, and then the Blood Center will give her $500 towards school if she makes 50 donors or more. If she makes 30, she gets $250.
According to Liang , at only an hour into their latest blood drive, turnout was already through the roof.
"We've already had 20 donors," she said. "We don't really have a scheduled sign-up...these are just all people coming. They read it in the bulletin from the church, maybe, or they're seeing the bus. Who knows?"
With four more hours to go, it's likely safe to say that Joanna indeed earned her $500 scholarship this day.
While Suppa is currently undecided as to what degree she wants to pursue, as an avid church-goer, she knows she wants to help people no matter what.
"I'm going to just study Liberal Arts at Farmingdale for two years," she said. "Then I plan on transferring to Franciscan University in Ohio to study some kind of social work or youth ministry."
First-time blood donor Katie Scuderi of Farmingdale was at the drive today to help support a friend.
"Joanna is one of my best friends," she said. "And I've wanted to do it...it's just a really good cause."