From December 2 through 21, 2013 both donor center canteens will feature beautiful custom trees from our friends at Outdoor Galore. The local outdoor retailer transforms into a stunning holiday store for the season: consider it Christmas Galore! Best of all, lucky donors will win these stunning trees with all their trimmings at each donor center. The two winners will be notified on December 23, just in time to enjoy the fabulous trees at home! Donors will also receive a 20% discount coupon off one item at the store and the opportunity to enter a drawing to win $1,000, $500 or $250 Outdoor Galore gift cards at the store located at 6801 White Lane in Bakersfield through Friday, December 20.
According to John McMurtrey, Business Development and Marketing with Outdoor Galore, everyone is looking forward to the third annual Givin’ Grillin’ and Chillin’ mobile blood drive on April 5 and 6, 2014 at the Outdoor Galore store, but given Houchin’s need this time of year, it seemed like a natural fit to sponsor Christmas Galore at both donor center canteens. “We really appreciate all the good folks at Outdoor Galore going out of their way to create holiday cheer for our donors as they enjoy well deserved snacks after giving the gift of life”, said Carola Enriquez, Director of Community Development. The professionally designed and decorated trees are valued at $500 each.
Hundreds of local senior citizens face the holiday season without family and on an extremely tight budget, unable to afford some of the basics most take for granted. There are many veterans among the over sixteen hundred seniors identified throughout Kern County by Bakersfield Christmas for Seniors as needing some holiday cheer this year. All that is needed is some extra elves to help provide these basics which will be delivered in a festive box by caring volunteers.
We will have collection boxes in the lobby of both donor centers from December 2-9 to accept toiletries, paper products, gift cards, easy care clothing, sugar-free candy, and similar goods. Each senior is asked to specify one $20 value item they would like to have. Every effort is made to provide that, plus a $20 grocery or pharmacy gift card, in addition to their box of sundries. Seniors ask for simple things such as kitchen towels, a blanket, robes and slippers, and white socks. Seniors can also indicate if they have a pet, and additional items for their furry friend will be provided. A full wish list can be downloaded here for your shopping convenience.
Banker and copy paper boxes with lids are needed for volunteers to wrap to organize the household and personal care items personally delivered to each senior by local volunteers. If you can contribute such boxes, bring them to either donor center or directly to the elves’ cottage at Glenwood Gardens, 350 Calloway Drive in Bakersfield. Just follow the signs to Cottage Number 401. We hope you will join us in supporting the work of Bakersfield Christmas for Seniors during their 7th holiday season helping home bound, isolated seniors trying to hold onto their independence!
Don Fowler has a strong conviction for doing community service. He has been an active volunteer in our community for countless years helping people in many different ways, but Don’s most dedicated service is giving the gift of life every 56 days.
Don’s first experience with blood donation was in the Marine Corps when he was 19 years old. “There is no substitute for blood and being part of the military you experience the need and this pushes you to become a volunteer blood donor,” explained Don. Then Don began donating at Houchin Community Blood Bank’s F Street location when his close friend who was a volunteer at the blood bank encouraged him to donate. Don believed that volunteering in his community was one of his top priorities and he wanted to instill the importance of community service with his family, friends and co-workers. Don also knew the importance of donating on a regular basis because his blood type is O-. “It is important to know your blood type because not all blood types are needed at all times but knowing I am the universal blood donor, I know I am needed to come in every 56 days.”
Donating blood became a regular routine in Don’s life, “as you walk into the blood bank you can see the top donors reaching their next milestone and I made it a goal to become one of the top leaders at Houchin,” expressed Don. On April 4, 2013, he reached is 24 gallon milestone and Don will continue to donate, “I want to reach my highest potential and as long as I am healthy then I can reach it.”
Besides being an avid blood donor, Don is part of the Westchester Kiwanis and he is the chairman of the Blood Drive Committee in Kiwanis. He also enjoys traveling in his RV with his family. Don also owns a wood working shop and he enjoys creating toys for kids. Don encourages others to donate, especially high school students: “its great community service and Houchin has a wonderful high school program that is raising the next generation of dedicated donors to sustain the community’s blood supply.”
In our ongoing effort to inform donors and the public about maximizing the potential of their blood donation, the theme for this year’s winter t-shirt is “The Right Type to Donate Blood”. The festive burgundy shirt is stylish and features distressed lettering that identifies the wearer as a valued blood donor. Not all blood types are needed at all times, and to be good stewards of the blood supply, as well as the time of donors, we only call for the products we need. Based on current need and blood type, we encourage donors to give platelet donation a try. We only have five days to get platelets through testing and on to a patient, so a constant supply of platelet donors is needed. Ensuring that hospitals and other transfusion centers have what they need is a daily monitoring effort made possible only by willing volunteer donors like you.
We hope donors will enjoy their “Right Type” t-shirt and wear it with pride in the community. Shirts will be available at the donor centers and on mobile drives throughout December and into January. When you wear you shirt you are a walking advertisement to encourage others to give the gift of life. Only 38% of the population can give blood, and less than 10% do. Thanks for being one of the few!
Wondering what to get that difficult to buy for friend, loved one or family this holiday season? Consider giving a lasting gift in our Path of Life at the entrance to the new Bolthouse Donor Center in the Seven Oaks Business Park. Bricks can be inscribed in so many ways to recognize your own or another family, a special individual, or as a memorial. What a truly meaningful holiday gift which can be enjoyed into the future. Brick sponsorships start at only $150 for one 4×8 inch brick. Brick configurations as large as 24×24 inches are available.
The commemorative Path of Life is located at the entrance to Houchin Community Blood Bank’s stunning and award winning new consolidated complex and blood drawing center. It is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and fountains, and enjoyed by each person entering the new Bolthouse Donor Center. What better place to commemorate special lives than this place where lifesaving blood and blood products are collected, processed and distributed?
Larger gift opportunities are also available, such as tiles on our Friends of Houchin Wall and benches in our lovely gardens. To order a brick or tile, or to learn more about how your 100% tax-deductible gift can be permanently incorporated into our new facility, call Pam Hornbuckle at 661-332-5677.