Ricky's Retreat in Bakersfield gets a makerover, community pitches in to help

Home serves as part of Bakersfield's AIDS Project

BAKERSFIELD - In January the founder of the Bakersfield AIDS Project was ill and in need of a blood transfusion. 

Community members came together, donated blood and made sure the four pints of A-positive blood that Audrey Chavez needed was there. 

Chavez is now about 85 percent of the way back to normal. Today she was at Ricky's Retreat, an extension of the Bakersfield's AIDS Project.

"Ricky's Retreat is a project of Bakersfield's AIDS Project," Chavez said. "It's a program and also a wonderful home. It's a transitional hospice home for people living with AIDS here in Kern County."

Earlier today Chavez was hoping for some help and once again the community was there to support her. Several community organizations and individuals came together to assist Chavez and fix up Ricky's Retreat and do some yard work.

"A lot of grunge work," Chavez said, "They are hoeing a lot of the weeds. They're basically getting the ground ready for some new planting, they're painting our porch area and just trimming the tree. Just a lot of the stuff that has been needed to be done and sometimes we just don't have enough volunteers, so I'm thankful that we have close to 30 volunteers here today."

Phillip Castro donates blood through Houchin Community Blood Bank. He was there when Chavez needed blood a few weeks ago and he was by her side helping out with yard work earlier today.


"It is not just about 'I have to go do yard work,'" Castro said. "It's about 'I'm going to make my community look better and I'm going to do something to help out other people within the community.'"


For Castro today wasn't just about giving to those that receive assistance from Ricky's Retreat. 


"They're (the volunteers) being compassionate to people that live here," Castro said "They're being compassionate to anyone that sees this and to each other. They're working together as a team and getting a job done that is desperately needed."        


Chavez said that she is hopeful the retreat can find regular volunteers that can maintain the landscaping at the  house a few times per month.


More information on Ricky's Retreat, or to volunteer, visit its website Ricky's Retreat   or call 661-872-9090. 

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