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Casey Christie/ The Californian

<p>Wearing their elf hats, volunteers Dylan Wood, left, and Madison Jared package toys for children at the Kern County Fairgrounds Saturday as a part of the annual Community Christmas food and toy giveaway. Cessily Walker-Mdluli, right, also helps out with the huge undertaking. This year they will give away food and toys to about 2,000 families.</p>

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Casey Christie/ The Californian

<p>These food boxes are packed for the annual Salvation Army food box and toy giveaway for the Community Christmas project.</p>

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Casey Christie/ The Californian

<p>Jack Knight, former Bakersfield Californian photographer, walks past the long row of boxes filled with food for the Community Christmas project.</p>

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Casey Christie / The Californian

<p>Madison Jared selects a stuffed animal Saturday at the Kern County Fairgrounds for a child during the preparation of the Salvation Army food boxes and toy giveaway.</p>

More than 2,000 families will receive customized boxes of food and toys this season through Bakersfield Community Christmas and the public’s generosity.

The partnership of businesses and local groups aims to give the makings of a holiday meal plus at least two toys each for children to age 12 to pre-selected and registered families.

To do that work, the coalition seeks donations of toys, food and money, said Bob Atkinson, the Salvation Army’s director of family and disaster services.

“We’re hurting for toys, especially in the 8- to 12-year-old age group, especially for boys,” Atkinson said.

Michelle Turner, a Community Christmas advisory board member representing Community Action Partnership of Kern, said the economy is having a ripple effect on donations, and more are needed.


The public may drop off food and toys for Bakersfield Community Christmas at the following locations:

• The group’s Christmas Center at the fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

• All PG&E pay stations

• All Bakersfield City Fire Department stations

• American Kids Gymnastics, 3622 Allen Road

• Bakersfield City School District Education Center, 1300 Baker St.

• Bakersfield Bodywork, 2427 G St.

• Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra at Dec. 12 event

• Catholic Charities, 525 18th St.

• Famous Dave’s Barbecue, 7777 Rosedale Highway

• Grocery Outlet, on Ming Avenue at Ashe Road

• Mossman’s Westchester Bowl, 1819 30th St.

• Mossman’s Southwest Bowl, 3610 Wible Road

• Tina Marie’s Café, Chester Avenue and 20th Street

• Salvation Army, 4417 Wilson Road

• Star Energy Credit Union, 5605 N. Chester Ave.

• Univision TV-39; 5801 Truxtun Ave.

Volunteers are sought, too, for sorting donations at the Christmas Center established at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Call the Salvation Army at 836-8487 to volunteer.

Find more details at www.bakersfieldcommunitychristmas.org.