The Christmas season is all about giving, and with less than a week until Christmas, non profit organizations in Kern County are making sure children and families of various needs have presents under the tree.
"It tickles her pink,” Bakersfield resident Sarah Mayers said. “If I could show you guys her smile when she sees these things, she's going to be so excited."
Sarah Mayers is talking about her granddaughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who is only four years old, is in remission from leukemia.
“It’s like she doesn’t even know she has cancer, because of all the support we’ve gotten and stuff, [from] the gifts and support it’s like she’s been on an adventure," Mayers said. "She doesn’t fully understand it. She’s only four.”
Mayers says in the midst of the hospital visits, the Kern County Cancer Foundation has been there for them, from tools for transportation to hospital visits outside of Kern County, which the foundation says they help about 65 families with each year–to now bags of Christmas gifts.
“Once they see Santa and you give them a bag of gifts, you see the joyous look and the smile, it touches our heart,” Santa Claus said.
Mayers’ family had plans to save money from Christmas presents so they could take a trip to the snow–but now, thanks to the foundation and help from other community partners like kern county family healthcare, the Kern County Hispanic chamber of commerce and greater Bakersfield community, her granddaughter will be getting toys this christmas.
“She’s going to walk through the door right now and want to open them, and we’ll probably let her!” Mayers said.
“Especially those who are financially struggling like all the families in our program, they realize there are people that care about them, even if they don’t know them,” Michelle Avila, executive director of the Kern County Cancer Foundation said.
Meanwhile, Mothers Against Gang Violence held their second Christmas giveaway on East Brundage on Saturday. The organization said it was for families affected by gang violence, COVID-19 and other needs.
Through their own efforts and community partners like the Bakersfield Police Department and Buffalo Soldiers, and individual community members, they were able to give 160 gifts to 160 kids, and even money to one family.
“One baby, she was about three years old,” said Xenia King, presidentx of the organization. “She walked up and she said, ‘I want a toy! I want a toy! And I said, ‘okay!’ I had a toy in my hand, and I gave it to her. It was a baby doll. And she started jumping up and down saying ‘I got a toy! I got a toy!’”
It's that spirit of giving that goes a long way and it can change a child’s life.
"It lets our children know that there is kindness, there are kind people in the world,” King said.