LA QUINTA — Robert “Bobby” Clifford is giving Santa Claus a run for his money. Clifford is not only a generous and longtime blood donor but also of bicycles.
For every $1 Robert “Bobby” Clifford received from recycling bottles and cans, he and his wife, Mary, chipped in $2 toward buying bicycles and helmets for underserved children in the Coachella Valley.
This year, the Palm Springs couple purchased 18 bicycles, helmets, and clothes. They even had money left over and on buying more items. It was their largest donation to date.
“I enjoy the shopping,” Mary Clifford said. “It’s fun to go out and find the things that the kids want. Whether it’s games or puzzles, or some (kids) want bikes, some want skateboards, some want scooters. It’s just a thrill for us. We hope we can continue doing it for many years.
The Cliffords made the donation in conjunction with the Angel Tree program operated by The Salvation Army. Capt. James Parks formally accepted the gifts at the LifeStream’s La Quinta Donor Center on Friday where other blood donors had donated gifts to the Angel Tree program.
“This is just amazing,” said Capt. Parks of The Salvation Army of Cathedral City and Coachella Valley. “What a creative way to get involved and help kids in need. This year, we have thousands of kids we’re providing toys, gift and clothes for and I think this is just one of the most creative and thoughtful ways to do this.”
Bobby Clifford, 73, is a regular LifeStream blood donor who each year collects and turns in recyclables for cash, from which he purchases bicycles for underserved children. In December, he delivers the bicycles to LifeStream’s La Quinta Donor Center, 79-215 Corporate Centre Drive, for distribution by the blood bank’s holiday toy drive partner, the local chapter of The Salvation Army, which serves the entire Coachella Valley.
“We’re thankful to LifeStream for its support and for allowing this to take place and to happen here,” Parks said. “Just know that by doing this, we’re helping so many people and children and their families have a good Christmas this year. There’s no greater feeling than to help someone in need.”
As for Bobby Clifford, he said it’s just “fun” to give.
“If you can afford to do it, and it isn’t really about the money per se, it’s about the fun and the enjoyment of giving and then you get some kids that appreciate it and that’s fun. I just love doing it and I tell my story and I love donating platelets and giving that way.”
Clifford, a 40-gallon blood donor, started his day at 7 a.m. by donating platelets with LifeStream for the 20th time in 2018. Platelets, an essential blood component to assist treatment of cancer patients, may be donated up to 24 times per calendar year. Clifford gave platelets the maximum number of times in 2017.
LifeStream is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to all Coachella Valley-area hospitals. For more information or to set an appointment, call 800-879-4484 or visit LStream.org.