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Casey Christie / The Californian

One of Houchin Community Blood Bank's locations is at 11515 Bolthouse Drive in southwest Bakersfield.

Houchin Community Blood Bank is asking the community to give a different kind of gift for the holidays.

With regular donors crunched by the cold and flu season and hectic holidays, the blood bank is in need of blood types A negative, B negative, O negative, O positive and A positive. To help meet the need, Houchin kicked off a "15 Days of Giving" blood Monday.

Through Dec. 31, donors can enter to win one of two $500 Target shopping sprees, according to a news release. Donors will also get a T-shirt.

The Truxtun Donor Center at 5901 Truxtun Ave. is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Bolthouse Donor Center at 11515 Bolthouse Drive is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. It is closed Friday and Saturday. Both locations are closed Sunday. For information and appointments visit , or call 616-2505. Walk-ins are welcome.

Dignity Health and the American Heart Association will teach consumers how to shop smart Tuesday.

The partners will offer free grocery store tours from 10 a.m. to noon at Vallarta Supermarket, 1515 Panama Lane, led by nutrition experts and volunteers. The tours will provide healthy shopping tips and advice on reading food labels, according to a news release. A bilingual nutrition expert will also be on site. Participants will receive free reusable shopping bags with information about health screenings.