Food Bank will triple in size, good news in hungry Kern County

Vegas NYE

Volunteers load a pallet during a drive-up produce giveaway organized by a Des Moines food pantry, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. Across the country, people have picked up roughly 75 million food boxes this summer through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The effort began in the spring when efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus caused food demand at restaurants and schools to plunge, leaving farmers with little choice but to dispose of produce, meat and dairy products even as millions of people desperately turned to help from overwhelmed food banks. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – More than a hundred thousand Kern County residents go to bed hungry every night, a challenge 150 local food pantries, non-profit agencies, faith-based groups and other safety-net operations take on daily.

Their task got a little bit easier with Thursday’s announcement of a major expansion of the county’s largest food bank.

Almost a quarter of children in Kern County are considered food insecure – they simply don’t have enough food to eat on a consistent basis. Responding to that ongoing need is the task of CAPK, the Community Action Partnership of Kern.

Part of the nonprofit agency’s challenge in feeding the hungry has been finding enough space to properly store and efficiently distribute the food donations gathered or set aside by its 150 partner organizations.

CAPK will be checking off that box very soon.

CAPK is preparing to turn its food bank on Feliz Drive into a hub capable of accommodating the area’s network of food pantries and distribution sites.

CAPK’s partners in the undertaking assembled Thursday to celebrate plans for a 40,000 square foot expansion of its existing 20,000 square foot facility. The expansion, when it’s complete in October 2022,  is expected to increase the number of times CAPK can feed Kern County residents facing hunger by 40 percent. 

Jeremy Tobias, CEO of Community Action Partnership of Kern, says the new hub will have a huge impact in Bakersfield, which in 2016 was named Hungriest City in America by the Food Research and Action Center. 

“This will consolidate all of our services under one roof,” he said. “We’ll be able to serve close to 100,000 people a year out of our food bank here in Kern county. Kern County has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the nation.”

The local hunger problem is largely invisible to the average Kern County resident, but it is real, and those who are dedicated to responding to this great shortfall need every tool they can get. They will soon have a new, very important one.

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