Sweet Deals for December Donations

Thanks to local businessman, Medhat Habashy, we have some Sweet Deals for your donation in December!

All December donors will receive a coupon for 50% off a Frozen Yogurt and Coffee Drinks at Scoops and Swirls, 5613 Calloway Drive, suite 500.  Plus, all first time December donors who give at either of Houchin’s two donor centers will receive an additional coupon for 50% off a Frozen Yogurt at Tutti Frutti on Stockdale in the Town and Country Shopping Center. Using these coupons will provide a fun break during the holiday shopping this year!

Holiday Accident Tragic for Family

It was Friday, November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, at 8:54 pm when we noticed a significant drop in our dwindling stock of O negative blood and posted this message to social media:

“Tonight our O- red blood cell supply has dipped into the danger zone. Perhaps it is due to the terrible accident at 99 and Taft Highway tonight leaving a young woman and child severely injured, and one child dead. This is exactly the kind of sudden change in our blood supply we have to be prepared for. Can you help us restock??”

Most of the time we know nothing at all about the patients who receive the products our donors provide, but in this case we did learn that a young woman received many units of O- blood in the rush to save her life, but unfortunately had not survived her injuries. As the days have passed we have gathered from news, and other public sources, who this patient was: Karla Mendoza.

The story is this. A young family from Half Moon Bay was traveling south through Kern County on Highway 99 at about 3:15 pm when they got a flat tire just north of Highway 119. Driver Juan Rodriquez slowed to a stop in the center median divider, turned on his hazard signal, and got out of his 2002 Jeep to change the tire.  Remaining in the car were his wife Karla and their children Zoey 3, and Emiliano, 5.

A 2017 Chevrolet speeding south, with an allegedly drunk driver at the wheel, drifted into the center median striking Juan’s parked Jeep.  We can only imagine Juan’s horror as the Jeep holding his family was struck and slammed forward, ending up on its side on the center divider with his wife and children trapped inside. The Jeep then caught fire. Kind motorists stopped and rushed over with fire extinguishers to put out the fire and managed to remove Karla and the children from the burning vehicle.

Karla and Zoe were rushed to the hospital, but little Emiliano died at the scene. Kern Medical tried to save Karla for hours, but she did not make it.  Zoe underwent leg and hip surgery according to a GoFundMe account for the family at https://www.gofundme.com/rodriguez-mendoza-memory. Funds for medical and funeral expenses are being sought.

A similar tragedy could happen to any of us or someone we know at anytime.  It is one of those worst fears we push away anytime family or friends are traveling over a holiday weekend. We may not realize it, but we are all relying on the blood bank serving the community we visit or travel through to have the blood products needed readily available in case of emergency. Each blood bank relies on volunteer donors to provide those products in sufficient supply to meet both daily and emergency needs.

The universal blood products, which can go to patients of any blood type, are needed in dire situations like Karla’s.  These products are O- blood, AB plasma and platelets from any blood type. These products are always needed, and we have been running low on all of them for some time.

We are looking for new donors all the time, so whether you know your blood type or not, please come in to join our team this holiday season. If you are already a donor but have not made it in, now is the time. Let’s not forget that no matter where we go, and no matter how busy we are this holiday season, families just like ours will be traveling the nation’s highways and just might need blood products.  Only you can ensure our local supplies are adequate with your gifts of life.

So, our holiday wish list is for new donors, 800 platelets over the month of December, full shelves of all blood types, and a robust supply of the universal blood products: O- red cells and AB plasma.  The platelets can come from any blood type, and we would love to tell you more about the automated donation process used to produce them.  Call 616-2540 for more information about our needs this holiday season, or to ask about your eligibility.  Do not count yourself out if you have had Valley Fever or cancer in the past, or have high blood pressure or diabetes now.  Many otherwise healthy people with those health concerns can donate blood.

Safe travels and Happy Holidays from Houchin Community Blood Bank.

Hit by Truck, Young Mother Saved by Blood Donations

It was October 19, 2005, and Shelby Steel and her daughter were on their way to a birthday party in Tehachapi when their Nissan Altima was struck in an intersection by a pickup truck.  The truck driver had been drinking and was speeding. Two-year-old Mayela Rose was tucked in her booster seat in the back seat and escaped unharmed, but Shelby almost died of her injuries, needing 4 units of red blood cells to survive. She says: “Blood donors saved my life!”

At the time of the accident, Shelby was a 20 year old college freshman at Bakersfield College. She credits blood donors with the opportunity to live to see Mayela Rose grow up and be with her when she married Christopher Morgan.

After surviving the accident, Shelby was able to go on to college to study art therapy, and worked as a volunteer at Mercy Hospital on Truxtun Avenue doing art with the patients.

Shelby is currently working at a call center doing technical support for Apple, and hopes to eventually go into police dispatching. She is an O+ blood donor who knows O+ red cells are the most needed type at hospitals.  She wants to ensure blood is available for someone who needs a transfusion to survive, just like she did.

Thanks for being a donor Shelby and for sharing your story with us.  Anyone who wants to tell us their story can enter it here, or fill in a story sheet in the canteens at either donor center after their next donation like Shelby did!

Holiday Hours

We have special holiday hours on Friday, December 15 from 9 AM to 4 PM at both locations, and will be closed on Monday, December 25, 2017 and on New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1, 2018. Unfortunately, the need for blood, platelets and plasma does not take vacations, so we hope to see our dedicated donors in before and after the holidays.

We are thankful for all our donors and wish you and yours a very happy holidays!

New Year, New You for Donors!

Skinsation Medical Aesthetics is a proud new member of the Executives’ Association of Kern County and the sponsor of our December Monthly Prize for blood donors.  Skinsation has provided a fabulous gift basket of services and supplies designed to help create a New You in the New Year! The basket is valued at $500 and contains Lipotropic/Fat Burner and B12 injections, as well as a gift card so the winner can choose additional services. Who couldn’t use some fat burned and more energy in 2018?

Skinsation offers a variety of medical aesthetic procedures for residents of Bakersfield and surrounding areas. It is conveniently located near the popular Marketplace on Haggin Oaks. Their exceptional services include, weight management, Coolsculpting, laser hair reduction and vein removal.  They can help with moles, stretchmarks and scars, and of course specialize in making your face look it’s best. Skinsation also offers Ultherapy, which is the only non-invasive, FDA-cleared procedure that lifts the eyebrow, neck, and under chin area.

 The Skinsation clinic has an experienced team of nurses and medical technicians to perform the beauty treatments and procedures you desire, and are dedicated to provide the ultimate solutions to make you look and feel your best whenever you visit. For more information or an appointment, contact (661) 617-6101 today!

Free Entree from Broken Yolk Cafe

The Broken Yolk Cafe is thankful for blood donors and wants to show it by providing free entrees to them at Thanksgiving throughout Southern California. According to the company:  “November is the month of giving and we can all do our part to save lives in our community.  So donate blood and enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Broken Yolk Café”

They have generously provided us with enough free entrée coupons to reward donors who come in to either donor center Thanksgiving week, November 20, 21, 22 and 24 to help us stock up the blood supply before and after Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 23 when we will be closed. We will continue to give them out as long as supplies last.

Broken Yolk Cafe now has two locations in Bakersfield.  The newest location is on the east side at 7919 East Brundage Lane, and the other is just north of our Bolthouse Donor Center at 3300 Buena Vista Drive.  Maps to each location are available by clicking the links to Bakersfield – East and Bakersfield – West.

The Original Broken Yolk Cafe started in 1979 in Pacific Beach, a local beach community in San Diego, California. For years, wait lines ran out the door on weekends causing passers-by to stop in and give the restaurant a try. The restaurant is known for high quality, homemade food and large portions, so it has certainly been a hit in Bakersfield.

At the Broken Yolk Cafe the primary focus is on serving high quality food and giving each guest a great experience. The restaurant is also known for its charitable giving and BYC Challenge which involves a person eating all of a 12 egg omelet plus sides. For those who can do it, the meal is free and comes with a free t-shirt and other recognition. We appreciate the generous support of blood banking in our community shown by the Broken Yolk Cafe.


Cyber Monday Blood Drive

H&R Block has a special offer for our donors. Donate at any mobile drive or donor center between Wednesday, November 1 and Saturday, November 18 for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Card just in time for Cyber Monday! Donors are automatically entered to win this timely prize.  What would you buy on Cyber Monday if we call you with the good news?

H& R Block has also offered the Houchin Community Blood Bank Foundation an opportunity to raise some funds toward a much needed new mobile bus to replace our oldest one through their Nonprofit Referral Service, from January 1 through April 30.  Each donor, or friend of Houchin, who becomes a new client of H&R Block next year can earn us $20.00! All you have to do is present a code at the time of service. The code is provided on slips in the canteens, or on this form you can download and cut apart to share!


H&R Block has offered tax services for over 60 years. With that much tax experience, they know how to deliver the best service possible. Whether you file your taxes with them online, in an office, or with their do-it-yourself software, one thing is certain – they are not happy until you are. H&R Block has a 100% accuracy guarantee and a Max Refund Guarantee. Come tax preparation time H&R Block has 15 convenient locations around Bakersfield, as well as in other part of Kern County like Taft, Arvin, Tehachapi, Ridgecrest, Kern River Valley and Delano.



6th Annual #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media on November 28, 2017. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  #GivingTuesday truly kicks off the season of giving, not getting. Lifesaving blood products that only volunteers can provide is certainly a great and lifesaving gift!

We will be taking part in this 6th annual social media event at four locations, and hope you will join us. We will be sharing photographs of our donors and staff with #GivingTuesday signage throughout the day.

In addition to the two donor centers, we will have participating mobile drives at Three-Way Chevrolet Cadillac in Bakersfield from 10 am – 2 pm, and at The Whiting Center in Bear Valley from 12 pm – 6 pm that day. There will be special prizes at the mobile drives. We hope you’ll show your giving spirit with a donation at any location!

All donors will be entered to win two great prizes.  One is a trip for two to Hawaii, or another destination of choice, from The Wonderful Company, and the other is a $500 Walmart Gift Card from members of the Executives’ Association of Kern County, Attorney Mel Ehrlich and Certified Financial Planner, John Rodgers.

Destination for Your Donation

The much anticipated annual Destination for Your Donation Blood Drive is back! Thanks to The Wonderful Company, one lucky donor will win a fabulous $2,500 Hawaii Vacation Package, this is equal to a five nights and six days in our great vacation state.  All you have to do to enter is fill in an entry slip when you donate between November 20 and December 1, 2017. This annual drive helps us kick off the holiday season, just in time to remind people that the need for blood, platelets and plasma will not decline as holiday festivities get underway.

526aec195df6e309c75ed8de9b09b22d_f747The Wonderful Company, formerly known as Paramount Farms, is the world’s largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios. Working with their Grower Partners, they farm 125,000 sunny acres that deliver 450 million pounds of nuts. We are thrilled that this internationally recognized corporation has chosen to recognize the contributions of Kern County blood donors with this awesome prize drawing again this year. Our thanks to The Wonderful Company for this generous recognition of the value of blood donation in our community!

Jamba Juice Saturday Is Back!

jamba-juiceTake a moment to recover from your Thanksgiving meal and take a break from holiday shopping to focus on saving a life this holiday season. Kick-off the season of giving by donating blood on Jamba Juice Day, Saturday, November 25th. Every donor will receive a coupon for a delicious 16 ounce smoothie at both donor centers, and at a special mobile drive at the Jamba Juice store located at 9360 Rosedale Highway from 11 am to 2 am. Coupons are available while supplies last, so make an appointment for this great day of giving to save lives during the holiday season.

Only volunteer donors can give blood, and we rely on an average of 100 people to keep up with patient needs.  Holidays mean that regular donors are traveling, and winter brings seasonal illnesses, both of which keep regular donors from helping us keep up with the demand which can increase on holiday weekends. We appreciate Jamba Juice for recognizing this need and hosting this popular annual drive.