NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield organization travels to Poland to support Ukrainan refugees

CityServe is trying to help.
Ukraine Invasion
Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 21:47:16-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Bridging the gap, even though the crisis in Ukraine is across the world, some residents from our community wanted to help those in Ukraine, so they travelled to the Polish border to support those in crisis.

Working to make a difference on the ground, that’s how local leaders from the organization, CityServe, have been trying to help those in Ukraine who are hurting and need help.

Providing food, water, blankets, mattresses, medicines, first-aid supplies, soap, toothbrushes, and other everyday essentials, that’s how CityServe is trying to help.

CityServe is a faith-based organization in Bakersfield. Officials said that when the crisis in Ukraine began, they wanted to help those who were hurting in that part of the world.

Their Co-Founder, Wendell Vinson, and Executive Director, Karl Hargestam, from Bakersfield, with two others from the organization travelled to Poland last week to help Ukraine there.

They said they spoke to people crossing the border, helped feed them, set up shelters, and got supplies that they needed thanks to donations and financial help from residents in our community.

“Much of our CityServe leadership team, they’ve been in Poland setting up that infrastructure. Taking a look firsthand for what is happening with Ukrainian people, understanding the plight of the Ukrainian refugees, what they’re going through, and how they can better empower and resource the churches.”

Crissy Cochran with CityServe said some of the most important supplies that people needed there were food, water, hygiene products, blankets, and mattresses.

“The support from the Bakersfield community here has been tremendous. I know that a lot of people are like, how can we give, can I bring stuff to your warehouse, and we actually aren’t doing those types of drives or collections just yet. What we’ve seen is a number, I'm talking hundreds of people tapping in, contacting us saying I want to go to Poland with you guys.”

Cochran said they are not sure how much money exactly was collected by CityServe to get supplies for people in Ukraine but said a majority of the donations did come from people in Kern County.

Cochran added that they don’t know what kind of events they will host in the future, but it could include supply collection drives or even packing certain items, based on what people in Ukraine need. They hope that when that time does come, residents here will be willing to help.