PITTSBURG — The battle is on.
The City of Pittsburg Police and Fire Departments once again are having a chili cook-off during this year’s “Battle of the Badges” blood drive on Wednesday and Thursday at the Frisco Event Center.
The chili is only half the battle, as many blood drives have been canceled this year because of natural disasters according to Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator Paul Lyle.
On top of that, some donors have canceled their scheduled appointment with the Red Cross in other locations because of the flu, he said.
Lyle said the turnout Wednesday for day one of the two-day battle, had not been too bad. Most had kept their scheduled appointments and the blood drawing seats were filled day one. The Red Cross will have a total number of participants and pints later each evening.
Lyle said this is thanks to the community support, from the facility where the drive was hosted to the community members which provided snacks, drinks and of course, the volunteers and first responders.
“Everybody here, they love their home town … and that’s what makes Pittsburg work,” Lyle said.
Frisco Event Center Owner Larry Fields — scheduled for blood donation Thursday — was glad to provide the space for the event.
“It’s a very worthwhile project,” he said. “The thanks goes toward those giving blood.”
His dog, Kiki did not give any blood, but walked around the room bringing smiles to peoples faces while waiting and after giving blood.
PFD Battalion Chief Bryan Main — who also was scheduled to donate blood Wednesday — said the chili cook-off isn’t extremely competitive as people would imagine but does give the departments a way to bring the community together to donate blood.
“We’re always up for anything when can do as department to help local organizations … If people need chili to help them go out and donate blood then we are more than happy to,” he said.
When it comes to how the chili tastes, Main said the both departments have a good chance at the balot.
“I tried them both to be honest, I think they are pretty good,” he said.
Main said he encourages people to donate blood, because as first responders the departments see a lot of accidents in which people are in need of blood.
Lyle agreed, he included younger and healthier people as those who should give blood as many people — especially older folks — cannot give blood.
“A lot of us can’t give blood for one reason or the other,” he said.
There is one more day left to give blood. People can go to redcross.org to see appointments available or walk on in between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Frisco Event Center.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.