The Bakersfield Homeless Shelter needs your help. People there say the cupboards are the emptiest they've seen them in more than ten years. And, the shelter is about to hit its busiest time of the year.
"It's the worst that we've seen in the 13 years I've been here," said Louis Gill, Executive Director, Bakersfield Homeless Shelter.
Gill says that's because the demand is higher than he's ever seen. Currently, they hand out roughly 100 food boxes a month. And, Barbara Paulson, the Basic Needs Manager at the shelter, says the boxes can't be filled like they used to.
"Well, we've had to reduce our food boxes by 50 percent just to meet the demand, just so everybody gets something," said Paulson.
Much of what they have left on their shelves are items like vinegar, sauces, and pickles. The donations are appreciated, but it's food that Gill says can't feed a family.
"When you are reduced to having a jar of pickles and you try to hand that out as a food box, that's not helpful," said Gill. "We need to make sure we have the basics for people so when they reach out, they can feed their family."
Gill says donations are down so much, the shelter has had to take money from their fund to buy food items like soup, pasta, rice, and cereal just to create food boxes that can create meals. It's something they've never had to do before.
"It's stretching resources that are already stretched. We feed hundreds of people a day in our own facility then take some of those dollars and purchase additional food, and it makes it very difficult," said Gill.
"We've always been able to count on the community to step in and really support us, and we again need your help in helping our community here in Kern County," said Paulson.
If you'd like to help, the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter needs things like peanut butter and jelly, canned meats, cereal, and non-perishables. You can make a donation Monday through Friday at 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM at 1600 East Truxtun. Cash donations are always welcome as well.