BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)– This Thanksgiving brings unique challenges as the pandemic leaves many Americans wondering where they’ll get their next meal. Some non-profit organizations estimate up to 50 million Americans are struggling to put food on the table this year. That translates to one out of every six Americans, including a quarter of children. This makes food drives more necessary than ever.
CityServe teamed up with the Kern Community Action Partnership, Dignity Health and Mercy Hospitals to serve 60 Thanksgiving meals to residents of the M Street Navigation Center.
“It’s going to make the residents feel like they’re appreciated, like they’re not forgotten about,” said Laurie Hughey, the Program Manager for the M Street Navigation Center. “Tables are set up so everyone can social distance, and they’ll have a mask on when they come through here.”
Some local officials volunteered to serve food during the event, lending a helping hand to those who need it this holiday season.
“These folks are walking a little taller, they’re feeling a little bit better,” said Ryan Alsop, the Chief Administrative Officer for Kern County. “They have hope. They know that people care and love them, and that they’re getting put on a pathway for a better life.”
Meanwhile just blocks away, Blessing Corner Ministries served meals at its church on Union Avenue and First Street. They’ve served Thanksgiving meals to the community for over 20 years, but never quite like this.
(TASHA TURNER/ VOLUNTEER, BLESSING CORNER MINISTRIES)
“Normally we host a dine-in experience that you’ve all seen in the past, but because of our COVID impact we are offering a drive-up slash walk-up event for the community,” said Tasha Turner, a volunteer for the church.
The church gave away hundreds of free meals with the help of dozens of volunteers.
“It definitely is a process to prepare for an event that serves over 1,200 dinners,” said Turner.
This comes just a day after Kern County recognized the church as the local non-profit of the year.
“It was a moment of just pride and excitement to see all the hard work, time, energy, hours, blood, sweat and tear that pastors John and Bonnie Turned have put in over the years,” said Turner.
“It’s mind-blowing, makes me want to do more!” said Tiffany Turner, another volunteer.
The Mission of Kern County also held a Thanksgiving event to serve an estimated 600 people in need. The group held the event under a tent with 25 socially-distanced tables. They also provided live music and gave away winter coats.
“Thanksgiving’s not cancelled,” said Carlos Baldovinos, the Executive Director of the Mission of Kern County. “We are gonna make something work out. As you can see we’ve done something really different than we’ve ever done for thanksgiving.