Serving the community since 1922

Organizations help feed Wasco residents

In partnership with Brighter Bites, Community Action Partnership of Kern and The Wonderful Company, the Westside Family Fellowship Spanish and English Church held its monthly farmers market. Together, they provided over 300 families with nutritious food.

"This is our 9th time holding the food giveaway, and each time the crowd gets bigger and bigger. I believe this shows just how much help the Wasco community needs. It is getting harder to survive financially with inflation skyrocketing," said Westside Family Fellowship Hispanic Pastor Johnny Martinez.

The farmers market intends to relieve some of the economic stress local families feel. Many have lost jobs because of covid-19, with many of them having a difficult time finding new work.

"When Covid-19 hit, I lost my job. I haven't paid my rent in months and am worried that I will be evicted and have no place to live. With this help, I can at least make sure I have something to eat," Miguel Garcia said.

Many come to the farmers market regularly.

"This is my fourth time coming. It is really beneficial because they provide fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, cheese and even diapers. I have three kids, including a one-year-old, and it impacts hugely," Veronica Lopez said.

"I am here again because when my grandchildren come to visit me, I can cook healthy and fresh food for them. At the grocery stores, everything is so expensive than before. This enables me to keep food on the table for my family," said Patricia Linares.

The food drive relies on the assistance of over 30 volunteers.

"What I love most is being of service to the community," said volunteer Pedro Mendez. "I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to help support what I believe is a noble act of kindness, which is in line with the church mission."

"I give my time to this effort because I can be with my Christian brothers and sisters doing God's work. It makes me feel good, and it is gratifying knowing we are making a difference in the lives of so many Wasco residents," Josie Andrade said.

The farmers market was made possible through the support of various nonprofit organizations.

"Our goal is to address the issues of food insecurity and food deserts," Sonia Rodriguez, senior program manager for Brighter Bites in Bakersfield, said. "We provide communities like Wasco living with these challenges with nutritious food while educating them on healthy eating habits and lifestyles."

"I am in charge of finding donors and coordinating grants to buy food," CAPK Food Sourcer Maureen Andrew said. "With this, we can provide fresh, healthy produce to the community so they can have healthier meals. People don't have the finances for healthier choices. They pay their bills first, and food is second."

The line of cars was over a mile long.

"I believe the event was an enormous success. We fed families while shining Jesus on them," said Martinez.

The farmers market takes place every 4th Thursday of the month from 8 to 10 a.m. at Westside Family Fellowship Church located at 2150 Palm Ave. For more information, call 661-301-5979.


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