The Bakersfield Californian

Give holiday cheer in the form of blood


The giving season is here and Houchin Community Blood Bank is urging the public to participate in an important blood donation promotion.

From now until Dec. 31, the annual Give Holiday Cheer Before the New Year encourages blood donations to boost the local blood supply while offering prizes each week until the end of the year.

“Since the COVID pandemic, the blood supply has been very challenging,” said Joe Sortijas, director of laboratory for Kern County at Adventist Health. “There was a national shortage, especially with type O neg blood. As the COVID-19 situation improved, blood supply gradually improved as well. We still occasionally experience some shortages but our local provider,

Houchin Community Blood Bank, has been very responsive to our needs.”

Blood bank officials said the last major shortage in Kern was in May and June, when the county was in need dire need of O-negative blood.

Sortijas confirmed Kern’s blood supply has been stable for the last three months with few issues to report. But one blood transfusion could use more than 50 units of blood, while the average person can donate one unit at a time.

“As mentioned before, O-neg is used as a universal donor,” Sortijas said. “It is primarily used during emergency transfusion. Therefore, it is the fastest blood type to get depleted.”

Houchin emphasizes its No. 1 goal is to keep Kern’s blood supply stable. In the recent past, the blood bank has had to put medical

centers across Kern on back order when the local and national blood supply

reaches “critically low.”

Shane Hubbard, manager of marketing and commutation

at HCBB, said the blood bank will do anything to avoid putting medical centers on hold because for patients, the donations can be “the lifesaving blood they need.”

“As soon as we get blood in, it is going right back out to the hospitals,” Hubbard said. “Medical centers are requiring blood, and previously we would have to put those supplies on back order. There have been instances where hospitals would have been waiting for blood.”

Hubbard emphasized the urgency for those who need blood, saying patients can be in danger without it.

HCBB’s promotion offers a $500 Amazon gift card drawing each week in December. Donors are only eligible to win the gift card the same week they donate.

Those wanting to give can schedule an appointment at Walk-in donors are also welcome.





Alberta Newspaper Group