BAKERSFIELD - There are many people living on the streets, in and around Kern County who don't have access to regular showers and finding food is a daily challenge. Now, there’s a growing problem those groups helping the homeless are facing.
Volunteers with the Bakersfield Burrito Project feed homeless men and women every Sunday and for the first time since they started three years ago -- volunteers say they are seeing a new trend
Heidi Horton helps feed the homeless every week.
"They look like you and me, but they were very hungry," she said.
Horton canvasses kern county bringing food to those in need and is starting to see more than just adults at her drop off sites.
"There were men, women, kids, young kids, 6 to 8-year-olds and there were adults literally pushing them aside just so they can get a burrito. And I was like oh my God, there are kids here," she said.
Homeless children are something she hasn't seen on the streets before -- even people living with a disability.
"There were women in wheel chairs and men in wheel chairs, in crutches coming up and we didn't get to feed them and it broke my heart and so I literally had to hide my eyes and then we turned the corner and i cried. And the reason why I cried is because they didn't get to eat that day because it wasn't fast enough to get to the truck,” she said.
Volunteers with the Bakersfield Burrito Project prepare warm meals in the middle of Weill Park to about two hundred homeless people a week.
"This seems to be a meeting place that everyone can come to and there are a lot of homeless people around this area so we come here to encourage people to have a safe place to eat that aren't going to be harassed or bugged by anybody," said volunteer, Jason Rickett.
Food is donated by generous people from the community and small fundraisers throughout the year help get them by in order to help those they say live in the dark.
"There's a stigma to being homeless and a lot of them feel that they can't be out there in public, that they don't have access to laundry or soap and we make sure that we have hygiene kits to provide that to them," said volunteer Belinda Lopez.
When volunteers are short on meals, they go and buy food items using money out of their own pockets because volunteers say they don't want to see anyone go hungry.
"It makes us feel grateful for what we have and grateful that we are able to give to other people and it truly is a blessing and each person that we come in contact with touches are hearts," she said.
The group spent the weekend raising funds to continue helping the homeless during the holiday season, which they say is a busy time for the organization.