BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — They may look like ordinary bags, but they’re not just any bag — they’re hygiene kits.
About 200 kits, with around 350 hygiene items, were delivered Wednesday to Jamison Children’s Center, an emergency shelter Care facility for abused, neglected and exploited children. These kits were delivered with the help of United Way of Kern County in partnership with Cummins, the engine manufacturer.
President of United Way Mari Pérez-Dowling said this has been in the works for a while, after an assessment last year in undeserved kern communities revealed the need.
“Some of them on this tour, as we were told, have never had a deodorant for their own selves, they’ve never had a toothbrush — you’re talking kids that are seven, eight or nine. So, you can only imagine what the situations at their houses are,” said Dowling.
According to Dowling, United Way was able to get the items that are in the kits like deodorant, a toothbrush, soap and more with the help of Cummins fundraising — items, Cummins office manager Chantra Chan shares, she knows will make an impact.
“This is the first time I ever experienced this, and it’s kind of heartbreaking, but I’m glad that we were able to help,” said Chan.
The pantry was first delivered at Arvin High School earlier this month, and Wednesday’s delivery marks the organization’s second delivery in total. Dowling hopes it doesn’t stop here, because she sees the difference it makes on the children.
“Their self-esteem immediately goes up, they’re now able to participate, open up, have conversations, raise their hand, because they’re not so self-aware about the way they look or the way they smell,” said Dowling.
Dowling told 17 News United Way hopes to receive more funding so it can deliver more hygiene kits, and if that happens, the organization wants to start with deliveries in the east side of Kern County.
For more information on the United Way of Kern County, visit their website.