BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The fourth annual 23ABC Bakersfield Community Baby Shower finished on Thursday after months of collecting donations. The event saw people from all over the community stopping by the 23ABC studios to bring their donations of clothes, toys, diapers, and more to benefit families in Kern County.
It wasn’t just residents, but government representatives and Kern County businesses taking part and sharing their generosity. Among the donors, Valley Strong Credit Union, who donated $2,500 dollars to the cause.
“We live and work in this great community,” said Lucy Trancoso, a senior business banker with Valley Strong. “Most of us are raising our families here, and helping the most vulnerable of the population is important to me, to Valley Strong, and to help our community thrive and be successful.”
The Bakersfield Baby Shower is a chance for the community to donate infant, toddler, and maternity essentials to be distributed to new parents who may be struggling to keep up with the day to day expenses involved in raising a child, especially in today’s economy.
Bakersfield resident Nick Mendes came to donate because he understands that while not everyone is as fortunate as he is, everyone loves their children as much as he loves his.
“Some of this stuff my son’s grown out of. We’ve had some extra stuff gifted to us that we just didn’t have a need for, so we just thought this was a perfect opportunity to give to somebody else and give back to the community,” said Mendes. “Because I’ve had an opportunity to have a stable job. I know not everybody does.”
James Burger, head of communications and media for the Community Action Partnership of Kern talked about the importance of community organizations partnering up to combine their reach and help as many people as possible.
“This is right up in line with the work we do. The organizations here today that are receiving the support, we wanted to partner with them and support them as we came out today,” said Burger.
Melisa Young, Donor Management at Life.FM, knows firsthand what the help of agencies like BPC and The Mission can mean to a family struggling just to get started.
“It’s actually amazing because my daughter went through the pregnancy center when she was 18 and got pregnant with my granddaughter, and they were such a huge blessing to us,” said Young. “So it just blesses me to see the community come together, because I know how much it means.”
Moms like Young’s daughter are the reason the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center and The Mission at Kern County participate in events like the Bakersfield Baby Shower. More than just baby clothes and diapers, BPC also provides parenting classes for both moms and dads, while The Mission supports the community in many ways, including with their Women With Children program.
The programs and resources offered by these charitable organizations are so vital to parents in the community that they’ve even earned recognition from some of Kern County’s most visible political representatives. Vince Fong, Assemblymember for California’s 34th District, came out to encourage Bakersfield residents to dig deep for families, and expressed pride for the city’s generosity.
“The one thing we know about our community is how generous they are,” said Fong. “And with so many young families right now trying to weather the economic challenges, right now these organizations are doing a tremendous job giving them the diapers and baby wipes, the car seats that they need to support their families.”
Bakersfield City Councilmember for Ward 2 Andrae Gonzales also came to see the generosity of our community.
“It is so overwhelming to see all of the donations from various community members in our city today at this baby shower,” said Gonzales. “There are so many families who are in need and it just speaks to the generosity and the spirit of our community that so many people would take the time to drop off essential items for babies and for families.”
Gonzales expressed amazement at the way Kern County steps up and supports babies and families.
Vivian Cao, District Director for State Senator Shannon Grove also visited the 23ABC studios, and said every year it amazes her to see how the community comes together to support families from all across Kern County. Cao added it really makes a positive impact, especially for first-time moms and anyone starting a family.
“As a mother myself, it’s hard right now with inflation and everything else. Affordability is one of the main concerns that we’ve heard form our constituents,” said Cao. “Certainly, putting food on the table and gas in the car is important, but feeding your baby? That goes without question as the most important thing. Sometimes, there is no formula to get. We are so humbled to be able to partner with the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center to host a donation site.”
Among the dozens of donations of clothes, toys, bottles, and accessories, the people of Bakersfield and Kern County donated around 175 boxes of diapers and 17 cases of wipes. It may seem like a little thing, but any parent will tell you, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. More than just the material supplies, your donations prove to these families that they surrounded by community, their children are our children, and Kern County will do what it takes to help them grow up happy and healthy.
If you missed Thursday’s event, you can still change a family’s life for the better. The Bakersfield Pregnancy Center and The Mission at Kern County accept donations for babies, moms, and families every day.
To make a donation of new or gently used clothing for infants and moms, new baby bottles and toys, diapers and wipes, or to send a financial donation, you can visit the websites for the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center and The Mission at Kern County to find out how you can get involved.