John Rieping/The Madera Tribune
Erik Morales of Madera prepares to donate blood during the Madera County Probation Department’s Battle of the Badges blood drive this week.
A bloodthirsty, 18-year rivalry continues this month with a North Valley Battle of the Badges series of blood drives in Madera and elsewhere.
“We’re battling ... other North Valley law enforcement agencies just to see who can get the most blood donated on behalf of their department,” explained Teresa Anzaldua, deputy probation officer for Madera County. “It’s a good way just to get out into the community and get people involved ... Honestly I don’t care who they donate on behalf of as long as they get out here and donate.”
Anzaldua helped organize the department’s blood drive, which drew “a steady stream” of donors Monday. Volunteers offered donors extra refreshments, such as ice cream, homemade sweets, soda, quesadillas and other treats.
“Last year was our first year and we were kind of thrown into it maybe a month prior. So we just scrambled. It came out good,” said Anzaldua. “This year we had a little bit more time to plan.”
Each participating agency coordinates its own blood drive, according to Priscilla Cullers, donor recruiter for the Central Valley Blood Center. The center staffs one of its five mobile collection RVs
“It’s so important to donate blood,” she said. “The reason we have mobiles out every single day is because ... without the mobiles we would not be able to supply valley hospitals with their daily needs. So that’s why we really encourage people to come on out. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.”
The probation department and Central California Women’s Facility have already held their Battle of the Badges blood drives, but many more remain for would-be donors who want to support their first responders.
• Madera Police Department: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Sugar Pine Smokehouse, 1830 W. Cleveland Ave.
• Bass Lake/Oakhurst: 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at Old Mill Shopping Center, 40050 State Route 49 in Oakhurst.
• Valley State Prison: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Valley State Prison, 21633 Ave. 24 in Chowchilla.
• Madera County Sheriff’s Office: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Grocery Outlet, 1930 W. Cleveland Ave.
• Chowchilla Police Department: 3 to 6 p.m. May 17 at Rite Aid, 48 West Robertson Blvd. in Chowchilla.
Donors must weight 110 pounds or more and be 18 years or older, although 16 and 17 year-olds can donate with written parental consent. Regardless of which blood drive one attends, donors can identify which agency they’re donating on behalf of.
Anzaldua encourages people to donate blood to “give life” to those in need.
“It can be your child,” she said. “You never know what can happen to you or your family member, and I just feel that giving (blood myself) hopefully — if anything ever happens to anyone in my family and they need the blood - that it’ll be available to them.”