Holiday blood drive begins Thursday

WICHITA — A two-week American Red Cross blood drive spanning the holiday season begins Thursday.

Dubbed the "Battle of the Badges" because it pits city and county law enforcement officers against fire department personnel, the drive continues through Jan. 2. People who donate blood during the drive get to "vote" for their favorite agency and receive a T-shirt for their effort, Red Cross spokeswoman Jennifer Keller said.

The agency that earns the most points — through donations and votes — gets to display a trophy. This is the 15th Battle of the Badges, and the two sides have each won seven times.

People can donate at the Wichita Blood Donor Center, 707 N. Main, on Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The timing of the drive is important, Keller said, because blood donations typically fall during the holiday season because regular donors drop off due to holiday preparations and activities.