BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – It was a jolly morning at the Rosedale Village Shopping Center. Our Lady of Perpetual School choir kicked off holiday cottage’s grand opening.
Organized by Kern’s Department of Human Services, the cottage was established 32 years ago to provide gifts to foster children of all ages.
“There is not a more difficult time than the holidays for a child to be without their families,” said Dena Murphy, director of the Department of Human Services. “This is something that makes them feel cared for.”
The wishes of over 800 foster kids, their name, age, and gender were placed on Christmas trees that line the walls of the cottage.
“I have four children that I have adopted and I know a great need that there is,” said Linda Goodwin. “I know when they were there what it was like and the stories that they have told me.”
Goodwin says she donates every year, Monday she grabbed a few wishes and took them home to fulfill.
An hour after the cottage opened Herman Rijfkoghel became the first to fulfill a wish. Two, in fact.
“How do I feel right now? said Rijfkoghel. “Like the day I adopted my three children, it’s just a great feeling that I could help someone out there. “
Someone like 20-year-old Ian Gregory grew up in the foster system and was a part of the Holiday Cottage program for years.
“I wish I could meet them and give them a big hug and let them know that it went towards a good cause that I’m in college now, that I still use it, that it benefits me very much,” said Gregory.
Along with working to make the holidays a little extra special for the foster youth in our community, kern behavioral health also chooses one person to honor and reward for their hard work every year. This year’s winner was Gregory. He was awarded new furniture for his apartment.
The Holiday Cottage will be open until December 17. If you’d like to fulfill a wish, you can stop by daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. they are located in the Rosedale Village Shopping Center on the northwest corner of Rosedale Highway and Calloway Drive.