Blood Banks Need Blood After Near-Blizzard

A blood drive for New York Blood Center parked at 124th Street and 5th Avenue. (Jaclyn Peiser/NYCity Lens)

A blood drive for New York Blood Center parked at 124th Street and 5th Avenue. (Jaclyn Peiser/NYCity Lens)

New York Blood Center is still struggling to make up for the 3,000 units of blood lost from the snowstorm on Monday and Tuesday.

The organization has said it needs 2,000 units a day to stay on track. The storm forced New York Blood Center to shut down on Monday night and all day Tuesday, something they haven’t done since Hurricane Sandy.

“The sum of those two days is 3,000 units lost,” said Andrea Cefarelli, executive director of donor recruitment at New York Blood Center. “We’re working feverishly today to make up the loss.”

New York Blood Center has rescheduled about a quarter of the drives canceled due to the storm, according to Cefarelli. But the drive has had a sluggish start.

“Yesterday was slow to pick up but it was the first day,” Cefarelli said. But she said she wasn’t worried. “It usually takes two or three days after we’ve notified the media until we see a large response,” she added.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also put out a statement on Wednesday encouraging New Yorkers to donate blood.

“I urge healthy New Yorkers to help us rebuild our blood bank and set aside less than one hour of their time to donate blood,” the mayor said. “You can help save many lives.”

The organization parked a truck at 124th Street and 5th Avenue with a goal of attracting 25 donors. Two and a half hours in, they only had six.

Daniel Starzec, 17, was one of the few passersby who visited the truck to give blood. “They came to my high school a few months ago and they offered free cookies and I went and it wasn’t so bad so I decided to come again,” he said as he left the blood drive on 124th Street. “I’m a big guy and I’ve got a lot of blood to give. I have way more than enough.”

Cefarelli said they would not know if they’re on track to make up the loss until tomorrow. Meanwhile, workers encouraged people to donate.

“It’s a way of giving back to the community,” said Jamie Torres, a phlebotomist for New York Blood Center. “You help out your fellow neighbors, friends and family members.”

To find a blood drive, go to