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Kern's Kindness: Airport Valet Express donates beach trip to Bakersfield Angels

Helping can come in a variety of ways, however, and that caught the attention of Kaptain Kindness himself, Phillip Rudnick. The help Rudnick envisioned came in the form of his valet business.
Airport Valet Express
Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-31 14:57:24-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield Angels is a local non-profit organization that has several different programs aimed at supporting the foster care community in Bakersfield.

During the summer, the organization was able to provide families the opportunity to escape the heat and travel to the beach, free of charge with the help of local businesses.

"We believe that not everyone is called to foster and not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone can make a difference in the life of a child," said Allison McClain, Executive Director of the Bakersfield Angels.

The idea that everyone can make a difference is what started the "What's Your Thing" campaign at the Bakersfield Angels. McClain is part of that organization, which looks to provide support for youth experiencing foster care. Helping can come in a variety of ways, however, and that caught the attention of Kaptain Kindness himself, Phillip Rudnick.

“I attended one of their functions where they were displaying a lot of work that their clients were doing," explained Rudnick, the owner of local business Airport Valet Express. "When we had this summer heat wave, I knew that there was something we had to do to help this organization."

The help Rudnick envisioned came in the form of his valet business.

Those who want to hear the sounds of the ocean have to drive approximately two hours to get there from Bakersfield. That’s where Rudnick and his charter buses came into play.

Families involved in the Bakersfield Angels foster care program were given opportunities to travel to the beach in Ventura.

"The value of what we get for what we do is much more than the money that it is costing me to send them there,” said Rudnick.

"The families we support are very large, on average five kids in the home, so a large vehicle, gas to and from the beach, $150, parking $20, you know all of it," said McClain as she broke down costs. "It’s such a gift that he is giving them the opportunity just to show up and jump on a bus."

The trip also allowed foster parents like Tiffany Hatcher a chance to sit back and relax.

"I don't have to worry about driving and focusing on kids," said Hatcher. "I can focus on the children and not worry about anything."

Hatcher was also able to show her foster children where she grew up.

"Born and raised, so it feels really good to be home," said Hatcher about Ventura. "We’re going to walk down to the pier down their and I'm going to show them my old stomping grounds down here at Pierpont."

While the parents had to help supervise, for the children is was pure fun. The trips allowed those in the foster care community to connect with each other.

"Fostering can be a lonely journey," explained Allison McClain. "A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to raise kids from hard places and so they are building community, even on the bus on the way over, getting to know each other, and then spending the day on the sand, kids getting to play together."

The Bakersfield Angels was able to provide these beach trips to the foster care community with American Valet Express' contribution of the bus. Many of the organization's programs rely on community members giving back and volunteering.

"We love them," said foster parent Carrie Wright about the Bakersfield Angels. "We love the support they’ve given us. We cherish our time with getting to know other families during these types of events and just being able to wrap around each other and help each other through some hard seasons."

Volunteers also play a pivotal part in the programs the non-profit offer. Families that have received help from the Balersfield Angels say the support has been critical.

"If I need groceries, they will help me," said Hatcher. "They help with the shoes and backpacks for all the kids in school. It's very nice to get help when you’re not expecting it."

The help includes the trips to the beach.

"They have taken us on amazing beach trips like the one today," said Wright. "They are just always there when we need any support."

That trip also wouldn't be possible without the help of others, like Rudnick.

"We felt it was something that we could contribute," said Rudnick. "The experience of getting away form this heatwave is meaningful to them and if it is, it's meaningful to us."

Loaning a bus out was something that Rudnick could do to help the Bakersfield Angels. Now, McClain wants to know what other community members can do to help.

"I always say 'tell me what you do and I'll tell you how you can help'," said McClain.

Those interested in volunteering or joining the What's Your Thing campaign can go to to learn more.