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Grove names CityServe nonprofit of the year

Sen. Shannon Grove named CityServe, a national network of churches that provide for the needy, the nonprofit of the year for her Senate district in a ceremony held outside the organization’s location on F Street on Friday.

CityServe began in a Bakersfield warehouse in 2017, but it has turned into a national organization that its website says has served 4.9 million.

“Their goal was to equip the neighborhood church so that the neighborhood church could reach their surrounding area, and they could meet the needs of the people in their community,” said Grove, R-Bakersfield. “Then the pandemic hits in 2020, and CityServe launched a national campaign to mobilize churches all across the nation to meet the last mile.”

Locally, CityServe served meals to 9,000 adults and 5,800 children per month on average in 2020. The organization also partners with Bakersfield College for Project HireUp, which offers job training and life skills. It also recently launched the RESPECT program, which will work with newly released prisoners.

Grove thanked the thousands of volunteers behind the operation and said it is making a name for itself. Grove called Pastor Robin Robinson, community development and church engagement director, the “Energizer bunny” behind the organization.

Robinson said the role of CityServe is to help churches “live out the assignment they’ve been given by the Lord.”

Robinson said the organization partners with more than 130 churches in Kern County as well as many community organizations and local government, which she thanked profusely.

Many dignitaries from these organizations were in attendance at the ceremony where Grove gave Robinson an official declaration naming CityServe nonprofit of the year.

“Nothing in a community works unless everyone comes together,” Robinson said.

Robinson thanked Dignity Health for giving the organization a lead gift in its early days.

The partners that she thanked gave a sense of the breadth of work: Adventist Health, Bakersfield College, Kern County Public Health Services Department, Bakersfield College, Munger Farms, Bill Wright Toyota and Seedcore Foundation.

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh thanked the organization and its volunteers for the work that they carried out in vulnerable neighborhoods.

“Bakersfield, Kern County, is blessed, because you have been carrying the presence of God, the heart of God, the love of God in such a practical way into our neighborhoods,” Goh said.