Aladdin's Castle in Edgewater Mall was filled with hundreds of South Mississippians eager to roll up their sleeves for a good cause.
"I do it because it helps save a life," said Jan Farrell of Gulfport.
The American Red Cross kicked off its December blood drive with bang.
"It's going wonderful. It's going absolutely wonderful. So much better than I even thought it would," said American Red Cross Gulf Coast representative Liz Gaulke.
Only two hours after opening, 140 people had come through the doors wanting to help someone else, even though many of them had lost quite a bit themselves due to Hurricane Katrina.
"I've been a donor before and this is something that because I couldn't go out and volunteer in other ways, this is something that's easy to do something that I've done in the past and everybody needs blood," said Brenda Melgeorge of Gulfport.
"They want to do something, and I think right now so many of us are not in the position to maybe write a check or volunteer our time or do the things we might normally do. We're a very charitable state and this time our coast is the victim. So a lot of them want to give because they want to help in some way and this is a way they know they can do it," said Gaulke.
The Red Cross sees this December as a double challenge because of the upcoming holidays and the past hurricane season.
And so Saturday afternoon, workers were looking to end the day with a collection of 200 pints of blood.
Thanks to many of you, the organization may get its wish as they continue to help save lives.
The drive raised 173 pints of blood.
If you missed today's drive, don't worry.
The next blood drive will be held December 12 in the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Pascagoula. It begins at 11 a.m.