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Kern County turns out for HBCC Mystery Boxes, sending three times the blood donors of an average week

Staff at one Houchin Community Blood Bank location says the number of donors jumps from 30 per day to 100 per day during the Thanksgiving Week Mystery Box gift card giveaway.
Houchin Community Blood Bank donors
Posted at 6:34 PM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 23:15:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Londo Whitney has been donating at the Houchin Community Blood Bank for 5 years. On Monday, he donated once again, both plasma and platelets, but this time, the blood bank was giving something back.

For Thanksgiving week, Houchin Community Blood Bank is bringing back its wildly popular Mystery Box incentive for donors. People who successfully donate whole blood, plasma, or platelets will be given the chance to pick their Mystery Box prize. All boxes contain a gift card, and one lucky donor could get a card worth up to $500.

"It's always nice," said Whitney of the possibility of winning an extra $500 for the holidays. "You could get more extravagant gifts and put a few more boxes under the tree, perhaps."

Whitney didn't need an incentive to donate, though. He has been a longtime blood donor who discovered blood donation through his own search to contribute to his community.

"I read in the paper for the National Day of Giving," said Whitney. "It had outlined all the ways you could give without having to give financially. There are volunteer efforts or efforts like this where you could come in and donate and help others, so I started in November, December of that year, and I've been coming ever since."

This week, however, Whitney is not alone. Rachel Nettleton with Houchin says their blood shelves are far from full, but after this week she expects a spike in donations, especially crucial during this important time.

"This whole entire year, we've been experiencing an extreme blood shortage, but leading up to the holidays, it's always affected us because people are going on vacation, spending more time with their family, so donations typically suffer during this time, so that's why we're providing this incentive to help encourage people to come in and donate, and to know that we need blood during this time as well," said Nettleton.

Sydney Campbell, Technical Manager of Donor Services for Houchin, says the number of donors the promotion attracts is surprising.

"This is definitely a rarity for us, especially with this location in particular," said Campbell. "We might see 30 people a day, so seeing 100 people a day is quite the turnaround for us."

Nettleton agrees, saying donations have been up since the promotion started, and she encourages community members to continue donating even after this week.

If you would like to know more about the physical requirements for someone to be a blood donor, find the Houchin donation center nearest you, or to make an appointment to donate, please visit the Houchin Community Blood Bank's website.