BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — United Way of Kern County recently partnered with No Kid Hungry to provide gift cards to local children and families in need. 

United Way said it provided 500 grocery gift cards valued at $250 each, bringing the total value of the gift cards to $125,000. Families were also provided with other items such as stuffed animals, brand new books and face masks.

The organization said Bakersfield ranks first in the nation for the most people in a metropolitan area who cannot afford to buy the food they need and that one in four children in Kern County go to bed hungry every night. 

“We have many children and families that go to bed hungry every night, and this situation has continued to worsen since the pandemic,” said Rachel Hoetker, education manager and emergency food and shelter administrator at United Way of Kern County. “They don’t have access to affordable or nutritious food especially while they are out of school, but with the help of No Kid Hungry and our partners, we were able to provide grocery gift cards to alleviate hunger amongst some of our most vulnerable families. No child or individual should ever have to go to bed hungry.” 

To learn more about services United Way of Kern County provides to the community, visit