Hundreds receive free Thanksgiving meal

Bakersfield North Rotary gives back to community

OILDALE, Calif. - Many north-of-the-river families in need will have a Thanksgiving meal thanks to a few organizations coming together.

Hundreds of families that may have gone without this holiday got everything for a complete Thanksgiving feast thanks to the Bakersfield North Rotary Club.

The giveaway is in its 12th year. The rotary has continued to serve the community ever since a smaller event 13 years ago tugged at their hearts.

"During that event many years ago, a lady came up to me, and she was crying; she was so happy for the Thanksgiving meal we provided. Ever since then, we have tried to make the event larger every year and help more needy families," said Dusty Wagoner of the Bakersfield North Rotary.

The Hope Center identifies those families that are in need, and the rotary buys the food. This year, they spent more than $12,000 for all of the food. Families lined up outside the Standard Middle School gym at 7:00 a.m. to receive the prepackaged boxes. However, several hours earlier, student volunteers from Standard and North High schools, along with some help from the Bakersfield Jam, organized the boxes that were distributed.

"I have been kind of struggling this year. I have been staying at home, taking care of my three kids. My husband works, but it has been hard lately, and we are so grateful to receive this food," said Stephane Finch, one of the recipients.

More than 350 food baskets were given out due to the hard work and dedication of the organizations coming together. For some organizers, the selfless act of their effort is all the satisfaction they need.

"There is always somebody who is less fortunate, and when you can help, it's an awesome feeling inside. This is probably one of our favorite projects that we do every year. We look forward to doing this," said Keith Stonebraker of the Bakersfield North Rotary

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