BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — When the pandemic hit, the First Congregational Church of Bakersfield was giving away food hand over fist. But as the COVID cases decreased so did the families that showed up for food.
For years now First Congregational Church has served the community but recently they’ve seen their numbers drop from 125 families served weekly to 60.
They want families to know that they are still here for them.
“Don’t be afraid to come down. Think of us as just part of your family. We are here to serve you. You do as much for us with you coming as we do for you,” said Randi Hodson, a moderator at First Congregational Church.
Hodson said she recognizes that sometimes families can be embarrassed to seek help but the church is only here to help
Food pantry helper, Patricia Williams is also a volunteer and says the joy that families have on their faces when they can pick up food is priceless.
“They’ll thank you many many times and they kind of are shy because they are so proud,” said Williams.
When it comes to pride, grocery recipient Katherine Larsen understands why it's hard to ask for help but knows it’d be even tougher if a place like this didn’t exist
“Well, we would struggle even more because financially right now it’s just been difficult keeping up on just the disability income that he has and maintaining our other bills. So, food is a real blessing at this point,” said Larsen.
For those who need food, First Congregational Church will be holding food giveaways every Wednesday from 8:30 am to 12 pm and invites all who want or need food to come and partake.
“They never do anything to make you feel embarrassed. It’s real easy, you just walk up and they’re also kind and it’s easy. It’s help and it's easier to survive with some food in your pantry than be worried constantly about how you’re going to eat,” said Larsen.