Serving the community since 1970

When you give, people live

The Houchin Community Blood Bank bus, in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, made its way back to Wasco. Regular and new donors came to support the initiative to save lives.

The bus comes every eight weeks to address the nationwide shortage of blood needed for surgeries, accidents, premature babies, transplants, burn victims and cancer patients, to name a few.

Most of the donations made in Wasco stay local. On average, these events draw about 28 donors, which saves 84 lives, according to a Houchin spokesperson.

Each pint of blood donated equates to saving three lives.

A donor can be as young as 16 with parental consent. There is no maximum cutoff age. The bus makes it convenient for donors since the closest donation facility is in Bakersfield.

The donation process is simple.

The first step is to read the educational materials that explain eligibility and what will happen before and after the donation.

There is a brief questionnaire about general health before you get on the bus for a screening, which is similar to a mini-physical where they will check your blood pressure, hemoglobin levels and temperature.

Once this is completed, you are free to make your donation. Each donation is one pint and takes about eight to ten minutes.

Afterward, you get a snack and juice while relaxing until feeling 100% okay.

It is advised that before giving, a person should have a protein-rich meal and drink lots of water.

Donors agree that the staff is friendly and comforting.

Those that donate say they get great satisfaction knowing they are helping people of all ages in their time of need.

"Everybody ought to do it. It is something good to do for yourself and your family," Desmond Wilson said.

There are health benefits to donating.

"It's a rejuvenator for your body and a preventative maintenance tool for prostate cancer," Danny Espitia said. "I'm beyond six gallons already."

Others like Espitia give often. James Medrano has given over 20 times. He said he does it to give back to the world.

"If it helps anybody in any way, it makes me feel good," Medrano said.

For some, the donation is meaningful.

"I grew up in a religion that didn't allow you to give blood, but now that I'm older, it's something special I like to do," said Bryan Avila.

The Knights of Columbus have hosted the blood drives for the last 15 years.

Account coordinator Stephanie Pimentel said of the partnership, "They are amazing for what they do for the community. They are selfless and fun to work with. Overall, they are very caring for the residents."

The next blood drive is scheduled for Dec. 16. To register, visit the Houchin Community Blood Bank website at


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