BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Today, Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals and Operation BBQ Relief started their effort to provide 35,000 meals to the homeless and those experiencing food insecurity in Kern County during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two organizations held a press conference this morning at Sonder Restaurant, 9500 Brimhall Road # 100 to unveil the effort. Through a $154,000 donation from Dignity Health, Sonder will prepare 2,500 meals per day for two weeks to be distributed to vulnerable populations in the community through local organizations such as the Bakersfield Homeless Center, St. Vincent de Paul, The Mission of Kern County and CityServe.

“It’s a very difficult time for many families in our community and throughout the country,” City Councilman Andre Gonzales said. “Many people are worried about their health, they’re worried about their job, they’re worried about where they’re going to get their next meal.”

However, he said many companies and organizations are stepping up to provide relief to families during this difficult time, including Dignity Health and Operation BBQ Relief.

“It’s events (like this) that really has restored faith among many in humankind,” he said. “That is such a blessing for our community and we should all be very thankful.”

Operation BBQ Relief is a disaster relief organization that provides meals and other support to residents impacted by disasters.