The second annual Mayor’s Ball may have been filled with glitz and glamour befitting their winter wonderland theme, but Bakersfield’s Mayor Karen Goh said beyond the black tie attire, there’s so much more.
“I’m most excited about our community together in the spirit of unity, in the spirit of loving one another,” Mayor Goh said. “It’s so good to see people after being separated for a while. Everyone has lovely clothes on, but beautiful hearts also.”
The inaugural event took place in February 2020. It went a long way in helping the local non-profit, CityServe, which partners with 140 churches and large retailers who provide the collaborative with their surplus goods so families in need have their daily essentials.
“The first year, we didn’t really know what we were doing, and we raised over $250,000 and that money raised going into a pandemic was so, so needed. So I'm pretty confident we are going to see that number this year.”
Saturday night’s ball was sold out as well, with about 400 people in attendance. Organizers said the event raised $558,200 for CityServe.
“You will see so many people who love Kern County, love this community and love CityServe,” CityServe Bakersfield’s director, Robin Robinson said.
This year’s event switched to table sponsorships ranging from $1500 to $25,000. Cityserve Kern County’s director, Robin Robertson said that those funds go right from tonight’s gala to meeting families where they are.
“We can actually sit on a curb and help somebody with eviction prevention. So it’s finding the gaps where people are really broken and hurting most, to help them navigate out of those things,” Robinson said. “Eviction prevention is huge because if somebody goes homeless it’s actually harder to help them get housing and stay housed. We also take food into these communities as well. It goes into families who may be raising their grandkids, single moms, single dads, people who are working two jobs.”
While CityServe’s biggest fundraiser will come to a close Saturday night, it’s that work that continues. There are ways the community can continue to help out through donations or volunteering directly.
“To actually get to take those goods and kind and meet a physically felt need, gives an opportunity to go a little deeper with somebody,” Robinson said. “There are no strings attached to what we do. It’s not a stop and drop, but stop and go back again.”