BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — More than 50 volunteers came out to the Mission at Kern County to serve a hot meal to those in need.

The food was great.

“And the food was awesome, too. I’m not quite done with it, but the potatoes are my favorite,” Oleander resident Deseona Harris said.

But the smiles and the community meant a little more.

“Last couple years we didn’t get to have it because of COVID. We’re back together, we get to have this meal, our community has come together and prepared this meal, donated this meal,” Executive Director at the Mission at Kern County Carlos Baldovinos said.

In the spirit of the holiday, Friday’s lunch helped some journeys come full circle.

Reanne Leisenfelder experienced homelessness and social hardship as a child.

Now, she’s on the other side, serving those struggling through a similar path.

“To be able to stand here and know that I’m supporting someone else who might have been in that situation is such a blessing to me,” Leisenfelder said.

Scooping meals alongside her two daughters, Leisenfelder understands the weight of her service.

It is what pushes her to give back.

“I just know whatever I do will make an impact on somebody,” she said

Transforming her past into love and compassion.

“For me, heartbreak led to purpose, and that’s why I’m here. I’ve made peace with that,” she said.