BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County has food — a lot of food. So why are so many people hungry?

Reports show 10% of people in Kern County live with food insecurity, and one in every five children is hungry.

“We can feed the world, but the question is, can we feed our neighbors?” said Jeremy Tobia, CEO of the Community Partnership Action of Kern.

Some answers to these questions are revealed through CAPK’s 2023 Kern County Food Insecurity Needs Assessment.

“We’re the food basket of the world, and our pistachios go all over the world, our carrots go all over the world, but yet, our neighbors are hungry,” said Susana Magaña, Director of Health and Nutrition Services at CAPK. “We want to talk about east Kern being a high need community that doesn’t have a lot of access points.”

Places like Lost Hills, Ridgecrest and smaller rural communities were identified as food deserts.
Although food is accessible in Bakersfield, CAPK’s next step is to create access to that food in these rural regions.

“With this assessment, we’re able to really be strategic about where we open up new partnerships with community members, agencies and churches that are in the community, already established, and who have the trust of the community,” said Magaña.

But inflation and soaring gas prices are forces that feed food insecurity.

“We have 11 box trucks and these are refrigerated box trucks,” said Magaña. “They have a 90 gallon diesel fuel tank, and it takes about 350 dollars to fill up, and we fill it every other day.”

With most grants being specifically given to CAPK for food, SoCalGas got into action to solve this problem.

“With our donation, they were able to supplement and really enhance the protein — the fresh protein that they give to families,” said Rob Duchow with Southern California Gas Company.

To further tackle those food deserts, CAPK is also investing $240,000 to provide partner agencies shelving, refrigerators and freezers so they can receive fresh and frozen foods.

If you need food, you are encouraged to call the number 211.