Gr8 Givers Gallon Club

Updated Gr8 Givers logo
If one single donation can save up to three lives, imagine how many more could be saved if your group donated together. We are launching an exciting campaign called The GR8 Givers Gallon Club. The GR8 Givers Gallon Club provides an opportunity for friends, families, businesses and organizations across Kern County to form groups of 8 to donate blood together, in an attempt is to have these groups donate 8 pints of blood, for a 1 gallon group donation.


windwolvesEach group attempting this challenge by December 31, 2014 will be entered to win a brick in our commemorative pathway at the entrance to the Bolthouse Donor Center. The brick will be engraved with individual donor names and the Gr8 Givers logo. The brick will then be permanently placed in the commemorative pathway at the entrance of our Bolthouse Donor Center. The winning group will be proud to have their names set in stone as part of the launch of the newGr8 Givers Gallon Club. So, why don’t you start saving lives together! To set a date to attempt the gallon challenge or for more information please contact the Community Development Department at 661-616-2500. We credit the staff at the Wind Wolves Preserve for coming up with this great idea.  We loved the idea, and so have others.  Country Rose Staffing, Kohl’s on Gosford, and Chive on Kern all gave it a try in September. Why don’t you join in and develop a team?

Win VIP Status at Scary for Charity

Scary for Charity winner

Brandi Moore was the lucky donor who won the VIP passes to Scary for Charity last year!

Between October 6 and 11, 2014 blood donors can enter to win 2 VIP tickets to Bakersfield’s best adult Halloween party at the Marriott on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Scary for Charity benefits the Jamison Center and Kern Partnership for Children & Families.The fun includes a costume contest, themed appetizers and cocktails, dancing and an exciting silent auction all to benefit foster youth in our community. This year’s theme is “Zombie Apocalypse” so dress up in your best zombie gear!

The Partnership links businesses, the community, and the Kern County Department of Human Services together to meet the needs of low-income and foster children in Kern County. The Partnership serves as the nonprofit umbrella for the Jamison Children’s Center providing shelter to children removed due to abuse or neglect.  It is the only 24-hour emergency shelter and protective custody facility in Kern County. Scary for Charity helps raise funds to support these youth through an outstanding over-21 evening of Halloween fun each year.  Wouldn’t you like to go?

October 2014 Donor of the Month


Amanda and Ashley with their kids along with their mom Gloria Saffell.

Gloria, Ashley and Amanda Saffell started giving blood just a few short years ago, but between the three of them, they will have given 5 gallons before this year is up!  It all started when the youngest Ashley donated at her High School in Kern River Valley.  From then on, Ashley was a dedicated blood donor. One day, Ashley showed up at the community drive in Kern River Valley to donate, and brought her mom, Gloria.  After they went to their local Burger King to redeem the free Whopper coupon from the Houchin blood drive, they called up Amanda.  They all laughed as they recalled that conversation, “Free Whopper! I’m so there!”, said Amanda.

So naturally a competition emerged!  Currently, Gloria is in the lead, assisted by the fact that both girls have had a baby since they began donating (donors are not eligible while pregnant, or until released by their doctor).  Both Ashley and Amanda returned after their babies were born, and have donated more than a gallon, while Gloria’s next donation will make 2 gallons for her.

They all agreed that their motivation for donating is the friends and family that have needed blood products because of car accidents, and Gloria’s husband who suffers from a brain tumor. They calculated that between the three of them, they are responsible for bringing at least 10 new donors to the Kern River Valley Blood Drives!  Amanda summed it up well, “it’s a very valid charity that doesn’t cost anything, but is a great way to give back!”


Celebrate Sweetest Day!

Lindsey, Mai and Justine the bakers of De Coeur Bake Shop

Lindsey, Mai and Justine the bakers of De Coeur Bake Shop

Donating blood is a simple gift that enriches the life of the recipient as well as the person giving it and give the gift that keeps on giving on the Sweetest Day! Sweetest Day is always observed on the third Saturday in October. This year it falls on Saturday, October 18 and we are partnering with De Coeur Bake Shop to celebrate with some sweet treats!

De Coeur Bake Shop is a local bakery owned by Mai Giffard. In French, “De Coeur” means “from the heart/of the heart” so having this partnership is natural. Mai is excited about the partnership, “I am excited to partner with our local blood bank because I admire how much of a positive impact Houchin Community Blood Bank has on the community as well as their engagement with their donors.” De Coeur Bake Shop will be providing delicious scones from 8 am – 10 am and mini macarons from 10 am – 2 pm or while supplies last on Saturday, October 18th at both donor centers. Donors will also receive a special coupon from De Coeur Bake Shop.

De CoeurDe Coeur Bake Shop is committed to using the best, seasonal, sustainable, quality and locally sourced ingredients to create superb artisan breads, pastries and confections.
They believe the best tasting and looking products are labors of love, which is why they choose to support local farmers, purveyors and other businesses. “De Coeur Bake Shop believes everything you do should truly come from the heart and this sentiment is what blood donors share with them,” expressed Joy Invina, Community Development Coordinator. De Coeur Bake Shop also believes in fostering great relationships with their customers, contributing to a growing community and giving back.

August 2014 Donor of the Month

John BlacksillJohn Blacksill works the graveyard shift at Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co. but does not use that as an excuse for him not to come in and donate. “There are no excuses, if you really want to do something, then you will always find a way,” said John. He is especially excited that we have a new special program for AB donors.  ” I use to donate platelets and plasma through the TRIMA system however, it took me 2 and half hours to finish my donation. But with the new AB plasma only program, it only takes me 45 minutes,” said John. With the extra time he gained, John is able to spend more time with his family and to sleep.

John donated a gallon of whole blood before converting to TRIMA. He began donating in college because “it was for the betterment of my community. There is a daily need to make a lifesaving donation so that others who need it, can have a second chance,” said John.

photo 5When John found out he was a good candidate for plasma, he was enthusiastic to know his AB platelets and plasma are universally accepted by patients of all blood types. His is the type most often ordered by doctors for fragile newborns and other trauma situations. “Knowing that the population doesn’t necessarily need my blood donation that often, the new plasma program has given AB donors like myself, a new reason to give and help even more patients,” explained John. 

Besides donating, John enjoys creating stained glass windows, spending time with his family and watching football. He especially enjoys watching his son play football for San Jose State. John encourages others to donate, ” it’s a good way to be a service to others and it doesn’t take a long time.”

July 2014 Donor of the Month

ElizabeIMG_3892th Slaydon was the first in her family to donate when she was 16 years old in Oklahoma. She has donated a gallon of whole blood.  She asked our staff if there was anything else that she could do besides whole blood because she felt like she wasn’t doing enough. That was when she learned about platelet donations. Having had a grandfather who battled cancer, she knew first hand the importance of the platelets. “It began with singles, doubles, now they have me doing triples!” She has now donated 63 platelets.

Elizabeth makes sure to tell everyone she knows about donating with Houchin. She made her mother so enthusiastic about donating that she convinced her employer to host a mobile blood drive.

She was excited to have her second child and to begin donating again. After she gave birth, she began to have internal bleeding and needed a blood transfusion. She used 2 units of blood. Because of her complications Elizabeth had to wait to donate, “I was devastated when I found out I had to wait another year to donate blood.”

Her 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with a heart problem last August while her son was diagnosed with a heart murmur a few months later. She continues to donate through it all. Elizabeth finds: “it’s therapeutic and I can relax while I helpIMG_8366

Elizabeth enjoys to read and spend time with her kids. Donating blood and platelets  “It’s
my purpose in my community, it replenishes itself, so why not donate?”

June 2014 Donors of the Month

photo 4 (13)There is nothing more important to Eric Metcalf than being the best father he can be to his children. When son Lucas achieved his one gallon milestone, Eric was excited that he was able to share this special moment with his son.

Eric began donating blood when his roommate in San Jose encouraged him: “I was healthy and it is an easy way to give back to your community,” explained Eric. Eric always wanted to donate because when he was 13 years old his grandfather had a heart attack and needed heart surgery. “At that time I realized that because of blood donors, they were able to extend my grandfather’s life, and I wanted to do the same for others in need,” says Eric.

Eric has donated 3 gallons of whole blood but wishes he could have found more time to donate. When Lucas turned 16 he decided to accompany his son at each donation. “As a parent, it is the right thing to do to support your children. I wanted to be a model of great behavior to my children and this was also a great opportunity to bond with my son,” said Eric. Lucas wanted to donate as soon as he turned 16 because his father inspired him to give back to the community, “my dad works hard and gives 100% in everything he does and besides donating blood, he volunteers at church and I want to follow in his footsteps,” explained Lucas. Eric and Lucas have made their blood donation into a father-son routine, “I encourage others to bring a friend or family member when they donate because it gives you more commitment and you get to share this lifesaving experience with someone you care about,” says Eric.

Besides donating, Lucas enjoys playing video games and he recently graduated high school. Lucas plans to go to Taft College to become a computer engineer. Eric enjoys spending quality time with his family and volunteering at First United Methodist Church. Eric’s goal is to encourage as many people as possible to donate, “I believe in this cause– people don’t realize the importance until they get affected, but people need to make time to give because it is the people who donated yesterday that saved a person’s life today.”

May 2014 Featured Donor of the Month

Nikki photoIn the past four years, “flight or fight” is the motto that Nikki Cross instilled in her two daughters in fighting numerous hurdles. Life became a whirlwind experience for Nikki Cross and her family. She has been in and out of hospitals with her two daughters Kayla and Kylee. When everything seemed to be spiraling downhill, Nikki along with her husband Kreg stayed strong for their two daughters.

Nikki struggled with her iron, so she was always envious when Kreg would go to the blood bank and donate. But when she found out her 12 year old daughter, Kylee, needed to undergo a scoliosis operation and needed to donate two pints of her own blood to use during her surgery, Nikki did what any mother would do, to be by her daughter’s side. Nikki wanted to make sure she was able to donate with Kylee and so she researched and found a way to alter her diet so she could pass her iron test. At Kylee’s second donation, Nikki was able to donate for the first time. Nikki wanted to show her daughters to never give up, “if you really want to help, you need to be persistent and alter your lifestyle because most things are fixable.”

Kayla, Nikki and Kylee at our Hearts United Blood Drive.

These past four years, Nikki found out she had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, as does her 16 year old daughter, Kayla.  Kayla also had a bone tumor last September.  Kylee underwent a scoliosis surgery, and both Kayla and Kylee went through numerous reconstructive hip surgeries. In December, Nikki was diagnosed with diabetes, but she continued to donate. Nikki stayed strong for her daughters, “it has been a journey, but I tell my girls we can’t dwell on these experiences but what we can do is turn it around to help others.”

Now Nikki plans on becoming a platelet donor because she learned the vital need for platelet donations. She also added, “Kayla plans on donating blood in September and Kylee will be celebrating the one year anniversary of her blood drive on June 30,” said Nikki. Click here to find out more about Kylee’s 2nd Annual Scoliosis Strong Blood Drive.

Nikki enjoys spending time with her family and their 48 animals. She also enjoys watching Nascar racing.  Every March they all travel to Fontana, CA to watch Nascar live. Nikki encourages others to donate, “it is important to give back and to help those who are in need. Giving money can’t save someone’s life in the hospital, but by donating blood or platelets you are giving that person another chance at life.”

Local Football Clubs Encourages Community to Donate!

386916_10151446027494582_34911283_nThe Bakersfield Black Hole Club is organizing their 2nd annual blood drive along with Kern County Niner Empire, Bakersfield Raider Nation, Thee Empire Faithful SF 49er Booster Club called Kern County’s Battle of The Bay to support your favorite team by donating blood during the National Football League Draft. The blood drive begins Thursday, May 8  through Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Paul Ocampo, President, The Bakersfield Black Hole Raiders Club wanted their club to take part on a second blood drive because he wants to make a positive impact in the community ” The Black Hole Raiders fans believe In spreading our message of positive fanaticism through solidarity as we promote team spirit, community outreach, and civic pride.We are proud supporters of our local Bakersfield community and feel honored to be able to donate blood, help save lives and encourage all others to do the same.”

Tailgating Package

Tailgating Package: Weber Portable Grill, 10ft x 10ft Instant Canopy and MaxCold Igloo 100 quart cooler.

There will be a tailgate party at the Truxtun Donor Center on Saturday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm featuring tailgating food for donors.  Live music is planned and donors can enter to win a tailgate prize package. For more information about the Kern County’s Battle of The Bay blood or to make an appointment call us at 661-616-2505 or make an appointment online.


 Battle of the Bay Version 2