December is the season of giving and is a time many look forward to giving back and donating to local, worthy causes. When Kern County sees people in need, they show up and give back. Several organizations have opportunities for the local community to get involved.
Bakersfield Homeless Center
The Bakersfield Homeless Center will partner with the Boys & Girls Club and KGET-17 for the 17 Days of Christmas event, Dec. 1 through Dec. 18, asking for brand-new toys for infant- through teenage-aged kids.
BHC External Affairs Manager Cindy Lyday said there are 100 children who sleep at the homeless center every night and the teens are often forgotten about. Parents can pick out presents for the kids and children can pick out a gift as well. Santa also brings a toy for the children.
The center will also be making baskets to prepare for those in need throughout the month of December. Those who are in need can call 211 and can go to the homeless center to pick up a basket.
• 1600 E Truxtun Ave.
Golden Empire Gleaners
Volunteers of the Golden Empire Gleaners are hosting the 3rd Annual Scramble for Food on Friday, Dec. 29, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Buena Vista Golf Course. The cost is $240 for a four-person golf scramble and a luncheon. The rest of the money goes toward a donation to the organization.
Contact Doug Landon at 742-3071 or Tony Bonanno at 431-8825 to arrange entry fee collection by Dec. 15.
“Hunger doesn’t take a holiday,” said Golden Empire Gleaners Executive Director Glen Ephrom.
Though the Gleaners aren’t holding a food bank during the holiday, they do hold various food drives and The Burrito Project throughout the year with various partnerships around town. To volunteer or for more information, visit goldenempiregleaners.com/volunteer.
• 1326 30th St.
The Food Pantry at CSUB
The CSU Bakersfield Food Pantry officially opened on Sept. 20 and is looking for help stocking its holiday pantry.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Office of Alumni Engagement is holding its inaugural Holiday Mixer at the Padre Hotel and will benefit the Food Pantry, as guests are encouraged to bring a canned food item. Tickets can be purchased for $20 via Eventbrite to attend.
A holiday food distribution will also be held on Monday, Dec. 18, and items welcome to be donated include: pie crust mix, canned vegetables, stuffing mix, cornbread mix, instant mashed potatoes, gravy, dried macaroni and spices.
The need is “not only at Christmas, but throughout the year,” said Executive Director of Associated Students Inc. Ilaria Pesco. “The need is 24/7.”
For more information about other food distribution days, food pantry hours and how one can donate, visit: csub.edu/sustainability/food. For other questions and inquiries, contact Food Pantry Coordinator Kassandra Hernandez at 654-3530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 9001 Stockdale Highway, near the Student Union.
The Mission at Kern County
The Bakersfield Rescue Mission is hosting its annual Christmas Community Meal on Dec. 23 at 11 a.m. The hope is to alleviate the hunger and feed those all around Bakersfield who might be in need of a good meal. The Mission will serve ham, scalloped potatoes, yams, green beans, dinner rolls and pie. The Mission typically feeds 500 people during their dinner.
The Mission accepts flour, rice, beans and other nonperishable items. Even if the items aren’t used at Christmas, they can be used for the next six months and are accepted year-round. Community members can drop items off at The Bakersfield Rescue Mission. Food donations will also help the Lee and Krystyna Jamieson Recovery Home for Women and Children, which will open in early 2018.
For more information about volunteer opportunities and upcoming events, visit thebrm.org.
• Located at 816 E. 21st St.
Morning Star Fresh Food Ministry
Morning Star Fresh Food Ministry is a faith-based nonprofit organization. Founder Brett Sill saw that Bakersfield was the hungriest city in America.
Providing more than just food to the community, those involved with the organization not only give boxes of food to those in need, but pray for them and show the love of Christ. The organization works with other local farmers and national suppliers, who are also committed to quality and fresh items.
Distributions take place every third Saturday of the month and are then delivered to families in the community. The next will take place Dec. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Call 654-9005 or visit morningstarfresh.org for more information.
• Located at 901 Sacramento St. ￼