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Local organizations provide necessities for young students

"This might be their first toothbrush."
Posted at 6:24 AM, Feb 08, 2022

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Boxes, boxes and boxes filled with hygiene kits were given to Bakersfield City School District kindergarten students last week.

“For a lot of kids, this might be their first toothbrush,” said Kevin Bartl.

Bartl is the Communications and Media Specialist for First 5 Kern. The organization gave the Assistance League of Bakersfield a grant to make 3,500 kits.

“This is an additional above and beyond blessing that we can provide these hygiene kits for an additional close to 3,500 students,” Vice President of Philanthropic Programs Barbara Sandrini.

Throughout the year, the Assistance League gives local students new clothes through Operation School Bell. Sandrini said making these hygiene kits is an extra way to help during the pandemic.

“We just really feel blessed that we can do this and be able to help with the COVID situation as it is and with life in general,” she said.

The Bakersfield City School District’s Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement, Dee Dee Harrison, was touched when she learned her students would get the kits.

“To come in and see all these boxes is incredible. We are super excited and so honored to have this opportunity to share with our kids,” she said.

But Harrison wasn’t entirely surprised by the community’s generosity.

“I think that’s what is so beautiful about the city of Bakersfield, is that we are always so compassionate about working for our families,” she said. “To see this coming together is [so] beautiful.”

And when Bartl saw the final products, he was inspired by the tangible impact the kits will have.

“This is cool. [When] you walk in here and you’re just surrounded by these hygiene kits, it kind of puts a face on the dollars and makes you realize [the] impact it can have on these kids,” he said.

Bartl said other nonprofits that support Kern County students are always encouraged to contact First 5 Kern about their grants.

If you’d like to support the Assistance League, visit their Bargain Box Thrift Shop on Q Street. You can donate or shop, all of which benefits their philanthropic efforts.