Launch in to Give

297308_10151390827694582_144423948_nWe are teaming up with the Kern Astronomical Society to launch the 7th Annual Astronomy Day to be held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Bolthouse Donor Center, with a week-long blood drive.

The Launch in to Give Blood Drive will blast off with a live news report from 5-8 am on Monday, April 7, with Morning Reporter Josh Helmuth from KBAK TV 29, and a Solar Social on Monday, April 7 from 4-7 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center.  During the social, donors will be treated to planet pizzas and other out-of-this-world treats and be entered to win astronomy related door prizes.  Solar sky viewing will be open to the public at the front entrance and Chief Meteorologist Alyssa Carlson will be reporting the weather live from the event for KGET TV 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.

KAS LogoThroughout the week, blood donors at both donor centers can enter to win a daily prize basket including pocket binoculars, and the weekly drawing for two telescopes: an Orion 8 inch Dobs and a Celestron Power Seeker 127mm. The weekly drawing will be held at 6:30 pm on Saturday during Astronomy Day. Listen for Weathercaster Aaron Perlman’s weather reports from the planets each morning on the news at KBAK TV 29!

Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy

Professor Alex Filippenko

The last day for the Launch in to Give Blood Drive will be on Astronomy Day, a free public event hosted at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 11 am to 10 pm. Astronomy Day will feature educational seminars and workshops, children’s activities, and talks on our universe by famous presenters Professor Alex Filippenko, who will discuss Dark Matter and the Runaway Universe, and Terry W. Himes, a Jet Propulsion Lab/Caltech Spacecraft Engineer, who will talk about his experiences with efforts chasing comets and landing on Mars.

We are pleased to partner with the Kern Astronomical Society on this week long blood drive to expose the public to the new Bolthouse Donor Center in the Seven Oaks Business Park, and to encourage new blood donors to come in during this drive.

Astronomy Day highlights are as follows:


  • Blood Donations: 8:00 am ~ 2:00 pm
  • Programs and Activities to begin at 11:00 am to 5 pm
  • Dinner Break 5:30 – 6:30
  • Door Prize Drawings 6:30 to 7
  • Night Sky Viewing from 7-10 pm


  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park  ~ Information on Dark Sky Festival, dark sky viewing, constellation tours, model rocket building program and Junior Ranger Program
  • Celestial Navigation, the First Astronomers
  • What Kind of Telescope ~ For the first time buyer of a new or used scope
  • What’s Out There? ~ Explains objects in our solar system and Deep Space
  • Meteorite & Moon Rocks ~ Displays of Meteorites and where they came from
  • The Solar System over Bakersfield ~ A scale model of the Solar System considering sizes of the planets and their orbits
  • Mars 2014 ~ Presentation of the planet Mars in 3D
  • Solar Planet Mat ~ How much do you weigh on Earth, Mars and other Planets?
  • Solar Viewing ~ Safely watch our Sun come Alive!
  • A Walk through the Solar System ~ How do the sizes and distances of the planets compare?
  • Make and Take Home Projects for Children ~ JPL’s size and distance, Make Saturn Shine, Planispheres, Sun Dials, Coloring Pages and more.

These activities meet Boys and Girl Scout Astronomy Patch Requirements.

Featured Speakers:

  • Professor, Alex Filippenko on Dark Matter & The Runaway Universe – The latest findings that prove Cosmic Inflation from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Seating is limited.
  • Jet Propulsion Lab/Caltech Spacecraft Engineer, Terry W. Himes – Presents behind the seen stories, insights and challenges to chasing comets and landing on Mars from 2:30 to 3:30 pm

Food will be available for purchase.

It can be difficult to find the Bolthouse Donor Center using GPS systems.  Look for St. John’s Lutheran Church and we are right across Buena Vista Road from it, or click here for a map.

Astronomy Day would not be possible without the support of these sponsors: Dr. Joshua Modlin, DPM, Ironwood Retirement Plan Consultants, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, AERA, and Bolthouse Properties, LLC. We thank them for making this educational event available to our community.


Spring Fling Get-a-Way

Trip to anywhereIf you had $700 towards a trip, where would you go?  One lucky donor will find out by winning our Spring Fling Get-a-Way.  Just donate blood between April 14 and 30 and enter to win!

Just think of the possibilities! Would you choose:

  • A week at the coast?
  • A river cruise?
  • Airfare to Europe?
  • A visit to out-of-town family?
  • A family vacation to Legoland?
  • An escape to Las Vegas?

The choice will be yours if you are the lucky winner! The funds with the travel agent can be used for transportation (except gasoline), hotels, cruises, and tickets for many tours and attractions.

Spring break is a time we need to fill up both donor centers to stay ahead of blood, platelet and plasma needs while school is out and donors are out of town or occupied with the kids. So make a date to get in the drawing for this fabulous prize by clicking here.


Spring Home Spruce Up April’s Prize

home-maintenanceThis is a great time of year to think about getting our homes in shape for summer living. One lucky donor can do just that if they win the drawing prize for April in the ongoing Executives’ Association of Kern County 30/30 Drawing. The prize this month is a home spruce up package valued at $800 from these fine members: Alcorn Aire, Inc, Clean Sweep, and Mahalo Pool Care. The prize consists of:

  • $300 in pool service including water analysis, filter cleaning, pool drain and start-up
  • $250 in annual preventive maintenance on a home heating and cooling system to include a box of high-efficiency filters
  • $250 in tile, stone, and carpet care services

The 30/30 drawing is one of the ways EAKC is celebrating 30 years of business in 2014 networking in our community. We thank these fine business partners for contributing this month’s timely donor drawing prize:.

AlcornAireLogosizedAlcorn Aire, Incorporated is a family owned and operated company providing sales, service, and support for HVAC systems in both business and residential buildings throughout central California. The company was founded in 1988 by Harry Alcorn, who now has over 25 years experience in the air conditioning and heating industry. The business is based on integrity, skilled employees and solid principles. Alcorn is one of the finest providers of HVAC service in Bakersfield because of its core operating principles of fair pricing, time sensitivity, quality, and safety.

Clean Sweep Logo1Clean Sweep is owned by Ken and Kathy Pistoresi, who have helped people with their floor cleaning needs in the Bakersfield area for over 30 years. Ken is a certified expert in stone and tile restoration and cleaning, grout re-color, permanent grout sealer, concrete stains and coatings, and carpet and upholstery cleaning.  Clean Sweep has the expertise to provide warranty service work for major carpet manufacturers, and believes in educating the consumer about needed service to make the best informed decision on possible cleaning and repair techniques. Clean Sweep can advise on the best course of action for the consumer no matter how damage occurred or how serious the flooring or furnishing problem seems.


Mahalo Pool Care  is a professional and reliable pool service company owned by Erik Straub, whose motto is: “Enjoy Your Pool – We’ll Do The Rest”. This family owned business prides itself on being aware of each pool owner’s needs and concerns. They know that besides the wish for a crystal clear pool, their customers want a healthy and enjoyable environment for their families. Their goal is to deliver the best quality pool service possible at the best value.

To enter to win this great prize, all you have to do is donate blood, platelets or plasma during April. To find out more about the EAKC 30/30 monthly prize drawing during 2014 click here.





Our Partners Win National Awards

Houchin Community Blood Bank nominated two of its valued community partners for national awards from America’s Blood Centers under their 17th Annual Awards of Excellence program, and both won!  KGET TV 17 won the Media of the Year Award from among all media partnerships presented by blood banks of any size, and Outdoor Galore won the Most Creative Blood Drive Award from those submitted by small blood banks like ours for the annual Givin’, Grillin’ and Chillin’ the OG Way Blood Drive.


Houchin’s Joy Invina, and Kiyoshi Tomono, Anchor of 17 News at Sunrise discuss the KGET mobile drive in 2013

KGET TV 17 received the highest national media honor for their annual kick-off of the Community Wide Blood Drive (CWBD), staged across the street from the station at “Compassion Corner” in downtown Bakersfield, for seven straight years.  This one day drive has grown from 71 to 229 pints. According to the nomination: “The station challenges the public to support the CWBD to ensure we have adequate supplies to get through the end of summer.   The kick-off day outside their studios is a high energy happening thanks to their all-day live coverage”. KGET also promotes the drive leading up to the kick-off Monday, then reminds the public that the drive is continuing throughout its run. This year’s KGET TV 17 kick-off of the CWBD is scheduled for Monday, July 28, 2014 from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm.


Sarah Grimes and Mackenzie Tidwell encourage donation at the first Outdoor Galore blood drive.

Outdoor Galore was recognized for organizing the very unique Givin’ Grillin’ and Chillin’ the OG Way Blood Drive developed to celebrate the opening of their ultimate outdoor living store in May 2012.  Outdoor Galore organizes fantastic prizes for a donor drawing, a free barbeque, and event t-shirts to celebrate our VIP blood donors.  The third annual event is coming up in April, with the mobile drive at Outdoor Galore scheduled for the weekend of April 5 and 6, 2014, from 11-5 on both Saturday and Sunday.

Our sincere congratulations go to these outstanding partners for receiving this recognition from America’s Blood Centers! Videos submitted with the winning nominations are available below.

Send a Friend, You Both Get a Large!

Rusty's GirlOur great friends at Rusty’s Pizza Parlor have heard our calls for additional donors at both donor centers and decided to do something about it.  Throughout March 2014, donors, and  friends of Houchin who can’t donate, can send in or bring in a new donor, and both will receive a coupon for a delicious FREE two item large pizza!  All you have to do to participate is pick up as many “Send a Friend” forms as you need at either donor center, or download the form here. 

Just fill in the top part for yourself, and have your new donor fill in the bottom and turn it in when they donate. Each of you will receive your free pizza coupons in the mail directly from Rusty’s. The coupons are good through May 31, 2014 at any of Rusty’s nine convenient locations.

Rusty's LogoThis is a fabulous opportunity to earn a free large pizza for yourself while you help us find more new donors. And that’s not all.  You can recommend more than one new donor to us for additional free pizza coupons!  This fantastic opportunity is only available during March, so start planning who you can ask to become a new donor today! People often report they have never donated blood because they weren’t asked.  Here is a great chance to change that by asking people to become donors this month.

Rusty's SlipSince its beginning in 1969 in the Santa Barbara area, Rusty’s Pizza has been involved in the community with a strong emphasis on children through school programs, youth organizations and a number of community engagement projects.

We just cannot thank Rusty’s Pizza of Bakersfield enough for their ongoing support of our mission to provide a safe and adequate blood supply for Kern County.  Regular donors are familiar with the free individual pizza coupons offered quarterly each year and on all high school drives. Now, through this generous “Send a Friend” offer, Rusty’s is helping us reach new donors through a network of friends like you, so send in your new donors today!

Condors Out for Blood in 2014

Hopefully you have seen our fun commercial with the Bakersfield Condors on local television shown above. The Bakersfield Condors are now owned by the five-time Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers and one lucky donor will score a great new prize during this year’s Condors Out for Blood Drive: condors vip suite the use of the Condors VIP Suite with a great view of all the game action,AND the opportunity to drop the puck before the game! Everyone will really be impressed with the luxurious accommodations, including a ride up the VIP elevators and no-host waiter/waitress service. Optional catering is also available in the suite.

The Condors have been treating families to a great night out for 16 years, while on the ice they are getting ready for the playoffs and are one of the hottest teams in the league. They have one of the best goalies in the ECHL, two of the leading scorers and they aren’t afraid to drop the gloves!

BakersfieldCondors LogoFor your chance to win this fabulous night out in Condorstown, donate during this year’s Condors Out for Blood Drive which takes place from Monday, March 10 to Saturday, March 22, 2014.  During the drive, every donor will receive a voucher good for a $1 ticket to the game on March 25th against the rival Aces. With a $1 ticket, that leaves extra cash to enjoy your choice of refreshments while watching an action-packed game! The grand prize winner will be drawn at 12:00 noon on Friday, March 21 so the lucky donor can plan their guest list for the VIP Suite.

There will be a social event from 4-7 pm, where you can meet the Condors mascots and players, and enjoy a live remote by KUZZ with prize wheel from 5-6:30 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center on Thursday evening, March 20 to celebrate the drive. Our famous “Slash the Competition” sandwiches will be served. Follow us on Facebook to find out all the details on this family event, or better yet, make an appointment here.

The Bakersfield Condors are very active in the community sponsoring such annual favorites as the Teddy Bear Toss for less fortunate children, and making public appearances at special events all over town.  The Condors have become internationally know for their promotions, including the infamous escaping condor video on YouTube, which now has well over a million views! The Condors obviously like to show their fans a great time, and we hope all our donors who are not yet into this exciting sport will give a game a try with their voucher.

$500 Visa Card Drawing in March

VISA gift girl 2What would you do with a $500 Visa Card?  Pay bills or make some dream come true? As part of the year-long 30th Anniversary celebration of the Executives’ Association of Kern County  (EAKC), a monthly prize will be awarded to one lucky blood donor drawn from all donors each month throughout 2014. No prize slips are necessary to win the fantastic March prize sponsored by Reliable Moving and Storage.

reliable-moving-and-storage-logoReliable Moving and Storage is a local, family owned moving and storage company in business for 40 years. The Reliable team provides the highest level of service backed by the full resources of United Van Lines, the largest moving company in the world. Reliable’s highly trained staff can move goods, including high-value electronics or delicate items, just about anywhere in the world. They have moved thousands of families and businesses across town, the nation and the world. We appreciate their support of blood donation in our community with this drawing prize!

Go for the Gold on St. Patrick’s Day

St Pats at HouchinGranite Construction is sponsoring Saint Patrick’s Day at both donor centers this year, on Monday, March 17th.  Since the holiday fell on Sunday last year, we couldn’t have our usual fun, but this year we are back better than ever! Participating in blood drives to celebrate the holiday is something Granite does nationwide. Together we encourage you to bring your own pint and celebrate with us. In fact, bring a friend with you!

All day at both centers, the canteens will have special treats and refreshments.  Each donor will be able to “go for the gold” and pick a coin from our Granite Pot o’ Gold. Coins are marked with a prize. Prizes will include California Lottery Scratchers, St. Patrick’s Day goodies, assorted gift cards, and a grand prize of a $50 Visa Gold Card–one at each center!

granite-construction-squarelogo-1387305403388As one of the largest diversified heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States, Granite Construction strives to provide customers with the highest standards of quality, value, and service on every project. Granite has long been involved in public works projects such as the California Aqueduct and Route 66, and is rebuilding the World Trade Center in New York City. Granite is proud of its commitment to each community it touches.  According to former CEO Bill Dorey: “As residents of the communities we work in, we are community minded and people oriented. We take pride in knowing that the facilities we help build will benefit our friends and families. We firmly believe that our time-tested philosophy of doing each job right the first time and providing good value to our customers is the true secret of our success. It made good sense a hundred years ago, and it makes good sense today—no matter how large or how small the project.”

We appreciate Granite’s annual support of our St. Patrick’s Day blood drive.

American Heart Month Partnership

Heart LogoNothing beats a healthy heart. That is why the Kern County Chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA) is joining with us on a Hearts United Blood Drive from February 10 to 22, 2014. There will be a kick-off social at the Bolthouse Donor Center on Thursday, February 13, 2014 from 4-7 pm with a Valentine’s Day theme.

Heart surgeries of many kinds require multiple blood products to achieve success, so we appreciate the opportunity to remind our donors and the public of this segment of the patients we help through blood, platelet and plasma donations. During the Hearts United Blood Drive, Go Red Logoeach pint donated not only helps the patients we serve, but the American Heart Association will receive $5.00. Our goal is 1000 blood donations for a $5,000 contribution to AHA! In addition, there will be a donor drawing for tickets to attend the fabulous Go Red for Women Luncheon, Fashion Show and Conference on Friday, February 28, 2014, organized by our local AHA chapter.

Heart disease is a major problem according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States annually—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Transfusion of red blood cells is required in 40%-90% of patients undergoing cardiac surgery, depending on the surgery type. On average, a heart surgery patient needs up to 6 units of red blood cells and 1 platelet transfusion.

  • Find a related story on why our donors give from the heart here.
  • Find a related story on a local heart patient who needed blood products here.
  • Find a related story on our partnership with American General Media and Body Xchange offering donors a chance to win heart healthy fitness here.

Blood Donors Give From the Heart

Go Red LogoHouchin Community Blood Bank and the American Heart Association (AHA) are partnering for February’s Go Red for Women 2014 campaign, which focuses on heart health awareness and the need to have a safe, reliable local blood supply.

“Houchin is a strong supporter of the American Heart Association,” says Greg Gallion, noting the relationship between the treatment of heart ailments and the need for blood products. Health organizations estimate a heart transplant requires 4-6 units of red blood cells; Houchin Eventsadult open heart surgery, 2-6 units of red blood cells, 2-4 units of plasma and 1-10 units of platelets; newborn open heart surgery, 1-4 units of red blood cells, 1-2 units of plasma, and 1-4 units of platelets; and abdominal aortic aneurysm, 4-6 units of red blood cells.

Houchin will hold a two-week “Hearts United” blood drive Feb. 10-22, with the goal of attracting 1,000 donors and raising $5,000 for AHA. Houchin will contribute $5 per pint donated to AHA.

“Donors of blood and blood products are needed to support heart and other medical procedures,” said Gallion, urging people to know their blood types and be willing to donate. Below, just a few of Houchin’s many donors explain why they roll up their sleeves:

CindysueBeckCroppedFixed-1-834x1024Cindysue Beck is enthusiastic about platelet donation and encourages others to donate blood or platelets. She has donated 126 units of platelets and over 9 gallons of whole blood. Cindy switched to automated platelet donation when a relative suffered a nearly fatal heart attack on Super Bowl weekend.  His recovery required a lot of platelets. She notes automated donation is similar to donating whole blood. She says she uses the two hours she spends in the platelet chair as “quiet time” to catch up on such things as e-mail.

Lisa-Brown-205x300Lisa Brown
became the youngest female donor to enter Houchin’s 10-Gallon Club on Oct. 27, 2011. “It’s an easy way to help people and takes less than an hour of your time,” she says. “It’s a really worthwhile thing to do.” Long before she was old enough to donate herself, Lisa began coming to the blood bank with her father, Danny, who has donated more than 20 gallons. Lisa is a 5th grade teacher at Harris Elementary School and the mother of a 6-year-old daughter who she hopes will continue the family tradition.

photo-2-8-1024x764Virginia “Ginger” Mello has donated over 320 units of platelets. She began donating after Sept. 11, 2001. “There was an urgent need and blood does not last forever. I wanted to make a difference,” she says. Ginger soon began donating platelets and plasma, when she learned her AB+ blood type made her the universal donor of those products. Now contending with arthritis, Ginger requires help from Houchin staff to “squeeze her fist,” as part of the donation process. “As long as I am able to donate, nothing will stop me.”

Story by Maureen Buscher-Dang